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Viki Greenlights First Original Series

Global TV streaming service Viki has greenlighted its first original series, scripted dramedy “Dramaworld.”

The bilingual series–English and Korean–will be set in Los Angeles and Korea. Jetavana Entertainment, EnterMedia Contents and Third Culture Content are co-producing “Dramaworld.”

“The reason we wanted to produce this show is most of the content we license is produced for a local audience, one particular country mostly,” Viki CEO Tammy H. Nam told Variety’s Silicon Valley senior correspondent Janko Roettgers in a Q&A Wednesday at the Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit. “What we wanted to do was produce content specifically for an international fan base.”

Ten 20-minute episodes will begin shooting in September, to launch on Viki.com before going to other content partner sites in early 2016. Josh Billig and Chris Martin will co-write the series.

Viki licenses TV programming from Asian territories, which get subtitled by subscribers. “Dramaworld” follows a college student who finds herself transported into her favorite Korean drama.

Last month, Viki acquired the Korean fan community and news site Soompi from Crunchyroll, the anime-focused video subscription service that is part of Peter Chernin’s and AT&T’s Ellation video venture in a deal valued at less than $10 million.

“If you look at the K-Pop industry, it’s growing like gangbusters,” said Nam. “K-Pop is a really friendly entry point to Asian dramas. Our subscription strategy is really centered around engagement, so it’s a really good fit.”

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