Success Of 'Squid Game' And Other Korean Shows On OTT Platforms Trigger Concern Over South Korean Creators’ IP Rights

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Nov 1, 2021 02:20 PM +05:30 IST
Success Of 'Squid Game' And Other Korean Shows On OTT Platforms Trigger Concern Over South Korean Creators’ IP RightsSquid Game
Snapshot
  • OTT behemoths insist on full IP rights of shows.

    Where does that leave Korean content creators in the middle of K-content boom?

Since the drama series 'Squid Game' became a worldwide hit on Netflix, the world's big-name platform operators such as Disney+ and Apple TV+ have been competing to get content developed in South Korea.

However, critics have questioned whether it is appropriate for local productions to allow platform operators to monopolise content rights to their shows at a time when the Korean entertainment market has emerged as a content hub globally for popular cultural content such as K-pop, TV series, and films.

Reports said that according to these critics, local productions should look for ways to minimise their financial reliance on global content powerhouses.

Since its launch in 2015, Netflix has invested about $700 million in South Korean projects, with an additional $500 million set aside for 2021.

However, 'Outrun by Running Man,' a spin-off of the long-running South Korean TV show 'Running Man,' will be among the seven original Korean releases Disney+ will produce in the future years. On 12 November, the company's Korean service will go operational.

In the case of the other competitor Apple TV+, the platform has revealed its own plans to launch the service in South Korea next week. It had already commissioned Korean-language originals, including the sci-fi thriller 'Dr Brain,' starring Lee Sun-kyun, star of the Oscar-winning 'Parasite,' and a TV version of the novel 'Pachinko,' starring Oscar-winner Youn Yuh-jung.

It was argued that the recent surge of global streaming powerhouses and the ensuing hot rivalry for promising Korean material will give Korean creators who have struggled to secure a big enough budget to dramatise their ideas more opportunity.

In an earlier interview, Hwang Dong-hyuk, the director and writer of 'Squid Game,' stated that the concept had been rejected by local financiers and broadcasters for about a decade before Netflix authorised it a few years ago.

Now, as reported, the Korean show not only has become one of the most popular shows on OTT platforms but also caused a sensation in the crypto world. The programme has its own cryptocurrency, known as SQUID, which has astronomically rewarded investors with an extremely strong increase of up to 30,000 per cent in just a few hours. As of 2.45 IST on 29 October, it had a market capitalisation of $335 million.

However, critics have pointed out that the online streaming platforms' massive risk-taking investment may limit Korean creators' intellectual property rights, as the corporations require the whole IP of the productions they invest in.

Sources stated that Netflix takes full financial responsibility for a project, giving local producers a 10 to 30 per cent profit margin in exchange for global distribution rights to the core show and its copyrightable works.

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