SK Telecom and South Korea’s three public broadcasting networks are working together to create South Korea’s biggest online video service.
The Content Alliance Platform consisting KBS, MBC, and SBS, which run video on demand (VOD) service Pooq and SK Telecom, which owns the mobile media platform Oksusu, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the creation of what will be South Korea’s largest online video service on Thursday afternoon.
According to the MoU, SK Telecom and Content Alliance Platforms intend to integrate video services Oksusu and Pooq. Though this merger, Oksusu members will be able to access Pooq content while it also secures content from the MBC, KBS, and SBS.
SK Broadband, an IPTV subsidiary of SK Telecom, launched Oksusu in 2016 as a premium video service. To date, Oksusu offers over 150,000 movies, a variety of TV dramas, and several VOD from over 100 different channels.
Likewise, MBC, SBS, and KBS started Pooq in 2012 with the intention of providing television content on demand from the networks and 70 other channels. Currently, Oksusu is the country’s largest online platform with close to 10 million subscribers while Pooq comes in second with just under 4 million members.
Although the two have a combined subscription base of around 14 million, they are facing a serious crisis. While Oksus is the No. 1 over-the-top (OTT) service in terms of number of customers, it is far behind monthly net users compared to YouTube and Naver TV. Additionally, LG Uplus’ video portal and KT’s mobile Olleh TV have gained ground since their respective launches.
Moreover, another problem is that South Korea’s OTT service does not differ greatly in terms of contents. Although South Korea’s OTT businesses are increasing the number of their own production content, there are few cases where they have experienced significant success in the market.
Against this backdrop, U.S. based businesses like YouTube, which began offering Korean language service in 2008, and Netflix, which started streaming in the county in 2016, have taken a huge part of the market share.
In particular, Netflix’s user base has skyrocketed as it works with production companies to create and steam original content like “Busted” which stars Yoo Jae-suk and “Kingdom” with Bae Doona. Further, users spent an average of 284 minutes per month on the streaming service, up from a mere 14 minutes a year ago.
However, Pooq and Oksus have still shown to be more popular — for now.
According to WiseApp, an application analysis company, consumers ranked Pooq, Tving, and Oksusu and their top three favored media and video service applications. Moreover, while Netflix has been making great progress in the Korean market in the in the past year, during the same period, the monthly service hours users spent on Pooq and Oksus more than doubled.
Translated by O.C