Sunday, January 29, 2023

Apple TV+ hopes to build on rivals’ success with first Korean series

Apple (AAPL.O) released its first Korean-language original series this month to coincide with the launch of its Apple TV+ streaming service in South Korea, following Netflix’s breakout South Korean success “Squid Game.”

“Dr. Brain” is a six-episode sci-fi thriller based on a Korean webcomic of the same name about a cold-hearted neurologist named Koh Sewon who uses brain studies to try to figure out what caused a tragic family disaster.

Apple’s foray into original Korean content comes as the country’s entertainment industry reaches new global popularity, from k-pop superstars such as BTS to the 2020 Oscar-winning South Korean film “Parasite,” and now “Squid Game”, which became Netflix’s (NFLX.O)biggest original series launch.

Director Kim Jee-Woon said after the consecutive success of such Korean content, global audiences began to understand Korean culture through artistic works and that he had made an extra effort to get the translations right.

“It is a very deep science fiction mysterious thriller, but at the same time it is a drama about how a man who was destitute of feelings happened to receive others’ emotions due to side effects of brain scanning,” Lee told Reuters.

“Dr. Brain” debuted on Nov. 4 as Apple TV+ launched in South Korea, with other original content available dubbed or with Korean subtitles. For now, it lags far behind rival Netflix in South Korea, which has been offering licensed and original Korean content for several years.

The launch of its TV service in South Korea comes as Apple is one of several American tech giants to face new regulations in the country forcing them to open their app stores to third-party payments.

The increasing number of over-the-top media service (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Apple TV+, and Disney Plus, which found a new popularity in the pandemic era, has allowed actors to explore roles they may not have been able to on more traditional broadcasters, Lee said.

“The era of COVID-19 has come with new-age for drama production,” he said.