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Korean Broadcasters Launch U.S. Streaming Service, Taking on Warner Bros.’ DramaFever

American fans of Korean dramas and K-pop are getting a new streaming-video option: Kocowa, a service launching in the U.S. from the three biggest broadcasters in Korea.

Kocowa offers U.S. audiences access to a lineup of Korean TV programs from all three broadcasters — KBS, MBC and SBS — as soon as six hours after they’re broadcast in Korea. The service will compete primarily with DramaFever, the Korean-entertainment streaming service owned by Warner Bros.

Launching Monday, Kocowa (on the web at kocowa.com) is available for 99 cents per day, $6.99 monthly or $69.99 per year; in addition, there’s a free option with ads that enables access to content within 24 hours of release. The service is launching from KCP Global, an L.A.-based joint venture formed in November 2016 by the trio of broadcasters.

Shows on Kocowa include popular TV dramas such as “School 2017” (pictured above), “Into the World Again,” “The King in Love,” “Dear Fair Lady Kong Shim,” “My Father Is Strange,” and “The King 2 Hearts.” The service also offers 2016’s two most popular Korean variety shows, “Running Man” and “2 Days 1 Night.”

“We are thrilled to bring the best of Korean TV to U.S. audiences with Kocowa,” KCP Global CEO Jungsik Kim said in a statement. “We not only offer the best of Korean TV, we also offer it very fast, with very high-quality translations.”

Over the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday, Kocowa subscribers also will have exclusive video access to the 2017 World Tour of top K-pop artist G-Dragon, titled “Act III, M.O.T.T.E” (“Moment of Truth: The End”), in North and South America.

To provide Korean programs nearly simultaneously in the U.S. after they air, the company is working with a certified translation team that immediately translates the programs into English when the programs run in Korea.

KCP using service providers for infrastructure management, billing and customer services, include Kaltura for the streaming video and Stripe for billing, along with others including Viki and On Demand Korea.

KCP estimates that there are an estimated 35 million fans of Korean entertainment and pop culture globally, with 8 million “K-wave” aficionados in the U.S. Kocowa is currently available in North and South America.

Kocowa, which stands for “Korean Content Wave,” is available on multiple platforms including PC, mobile and tablet. Later this year, the service also will be available to stream on connected TVs.

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