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Korean content popularity boosts related stocks

Poster for Netflix’s Korean original series “Sweet Home” (Netflix)
Poster for Netflix’s Korean original series “Sweet Home” (Netflix)
South Korean media content-related stocks have soared at a fast clip, backed by rising demand for streaming services and growing expectations for the local entertainment industry to strengthen its global foothold, data showed Monday.

Studio Dragon, a major local TV drama production firm, saw its shares climb 17.17 percent this year, from 92,600 won ($83.85) marked at the closing of Dec. 30 to 108,500 won touched at Monday’s closing. The stock hit its second-highest closing of 109,200 won on Friday, outpaced only by its record-high closing of 113,200 won recorded in November 2018.

The recent stock rally is buoyed by the global success of Netflix’s webtoon-based, monster-packed drama series “Sweet Home,” which is produced by the company.

Shares of local entertainment firm Keyeast have surged 60.34 percent to 18,600 won over the same period. The firm’s stock spiked by a daily permissible limit of nearly 30 percent on Wednesday in the wake of its announcement that it will produce four dramas this year, including a new space station rom-com tentatively titled “Ask the Stars” that is set to cost upwards of 40 billion won.

Besides strong stock performances of other big-name drama production firms such as New, Chorokbaem Media, Astory, Jcontentree and Samhwa Networks, shares of online content companies providing webtoons and web novels such as Kidari Studio and D&C Media have also jumped.

Internet platform giant Naver announced its acquisition of web novel platform Wattpad on Wednesday. Following the news, the top online portal operator’s stock set an all-time high of 353,000 won during intraday trading Monday then closed at 349,000 won. In the previous session, it also saw its market capitalization ranking leap to No. 4 on the nation’s main bourse Kospi, beating leading automaker Hyundai Motor.

KB Securities analyst Lee Dong-ryun said that global giants such as Netflix, Walt Disney and AT&T have recently strengthened their efforts to increase investments on streaming platforms and media content amid a soaring number of online streaming service users around the globe. Fueled by the trend shift, Korean video content productions have gained a wider toehold to step forward.

“Due to China’s ban on Korean pop culture (since 2016), watching Korean videos is still partially restricted. Chinese streaming firms, however, have expanded their investments in Korean content. Including firms like iQiyi and Tencent, major Chinese video streaming platforms’ investments are anticipated to greater expand Korean content provision,” he added.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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