Amazon Prime Video may not be the early bird, but it still wants to catch the K-wave in India
- Amazon last month started streaming Korean dramas including popular titles like Mr. Queen and The Penthouse.
- It is now one of the few global platforms offering access to Korean content.
- Here’s a look at what Amazon is offering, and how it can be the closest rival to Netflix.
Netflix is now almost synonymous with Korean shows and movies for the global audience especially owing to the Squid Game craze that took over the internet. It even became the most popular Netflix show. There’s a plethora of Korean series and movies that you can watch on Netflix. It has also been regularly producing originals like Crash Landing on You, Nevertheless, The King: Eternal Monarch, and Something in the Rain.
Netflix hopped on the early K-wave in India
Before streaming services, K-Drama fans resorted to pirated copies on websites and the good old days of CDs to watch their favourite shows and movies. But Netflix slowly started bringing in more Korean content to its platform and one particular show that really hit it in India was Crash Landing on You. It was released in December 2019 but it gained wide popularity around March when the lockdown started in India. Crash Landing on You even made it to Netflix India’s top 10 list. In South Korea, it’s the highest-rated tvN drama (television network) and also the third highest-rated South Korean TV drama in cable television history. Netflix also said that K-Drama viewership in India increased more than 370% in 2020 over 2019.
Even television networks jumped on the K-Drama bandwagon with Zee Cafe started airing fan-favourite Boys Over Flowers and also Descendants Of The Sun. Dish TV also started a dedicated channel called “Korean Drama Active” for Korean shows dubbed in Hindi.
Amazon Prime Video is inching closer to rival Netflix
Other than Netflix, Amazon Prime Video is the biggest streaming platform to offer Korean content. Last month, the streaming service launched ten Korean titles, and it plans to release a new series every week. But this isn’t Amazon’s first encounter with Korean movies. It’s the only OTT platform in India to stream Oscar-winning movie Parasite, and also Minari which had six Oscar nominations.
The K-Dramas streaming on Amazon aren’t originals or new shows but old ones that aired recently or a couple of years ago. It is also worth noting that some of these titles aren’t available on Netflix but are otherwise very popular. Take The Penthouse for example, which became the most-watched program on any channel on Friday, and also the most-watched miniseries of the entire week when it ended. Another popular title Mr. Queen also bagged the fifth-highest ratings in South Korea’s television network tvN’s history.
It’s also important to highlight that Amazon can have an upper hand here with these titles or future ones that are not available on Netflix. There are unofficial websites to watch these shows but it's always a safer option to access it from verified platforms.
Amazon vs Netflix
Amazon doesn’t have a catalogue as big as Netflix but its plan to release a new series every week could soon make it a go-to hub for Korean content. Then there’s the pricing too. Netflix does offer multiple subscriptions, even low-priced ones for mobile users starting at ₹199 per month. Amazon on the other hand bundles Prime Video, Music with the e-commerce Prime membership which costs ₹179 per month. If we compare the two, Amazon is much cheaper and also offers more benefits with its subscription.
Not only Netflix
It’s not only Netflix that offers access to Korean content. Other OTT apps like Rakuten’s Viki and Viu are also dedicated platforms for Korean and Asian movies, TV shows. Viki, for example, already streams some of the shows like Mr. Queen and The Penthouse. The app is available for free as an ad-based service. MX Player also offers K-Dramas dubbed in Hindi and regional languages Tamil and Telugu.
Disney+ Hotstar is another global platform that pushed its entry into this genre with the launch of five new Korean series - Moving, Grid, Snowdrop, Rookies and “Sixth Sense Kiss”. The streaming service will also release an exclusive documentary titled “Blackpink: The Movie” on Disney+ and, it also announced a spinoff of the popular Korean TV show “Running Man” exclusively for Disney+. Apple also launched its first Korean-language series “Dr. Brain” globally on the same day the service debuted in South Korea.
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