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South Korean broadcasters band together to take on Netflix with new streaming service

The largest broadcasters in South Korea have banded together to take on Netflix by forming their own streaming service.

The Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), together with the country’s largest wireless service provider SK Telecom, have signed a memorandum of understanding to pool resources and launch a home-grown video streaming service to create original content in 2019.

The MOU will see Oksusu, the largest video streaming service in South Korea with around 10 million subscribers and owned by SK Telecom, combined with Pooq, which has around 4 million subscribers and is owned by SBS, MBC and KBS. The new streaming service will tap on existing partnerships with Hong Kong’s ViuTV, Malaysia’s iflix, and China’s iQIYI.

The broadcasters hope the new streaming service will stem Netflix’s growth in the country, which has seen the streaming giant reach almost a million users in September 2018 after investing more than $8 billion into producing original country-specific content featuring local actors and actresses. Its South Korean drama Mr. Sunshine, became the country’s highest-rated show in 2018

In the UK, the BBC is reportedly in talks to extend its commercial ties with European public service broadcasters in a bid to stave off competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.