Korean and Thai Content Have Highest Cross-Border Travel for Netflix in Asia, Says Analyst

Gianna Jun in Netflix's "Kingdom: Ashin of the North"
Courtesy of Netflix

The decision to make a second season of Netflix global hit “Squid Game” is a sound one, according to analysis firm Media Partners Asia which finds that Korean and Thai content have the strongest cross-border travel potential within the Asia-Pacific region.

The company’s “Netflix in the Asia Pacific: The Scalability of Local Content” report is based on passive measurement of 30,000 streaming consumers in Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.

“Our analysis indicates that U.S., Korean and Japanese content continued to drive subscriber growth and engagement for Netflix in the third quarter of 2021. Korean and Thai dramas demonstrated strong travelability, with significant share of streaming generated outside the home country,” said MPA analyst Dhivya T.

“The strength of key Korean and U.S. originals released in late-third quarter like ‘Squid Game’ and ‘Sex/Life’ is expected to carry into Q4, along with returning U.S. and international hits like ‘You’ season three and ‘Money Heist’ season five.”

Aggregate data shows U.S. series accounted for 29% of viewing time across the nine territories, and Korean series 28%. Other top-ranking categories include U.S. movies and Japanese anime, with 10% each, followed by U.K. and European content, and all other Asian content with 11%.

Within the region there are significant differences. Australians primarily consume English language series and movies with U.S. series the single largest category. Korean content drives 55% of Netflix consumption in South Korea, led by acquired dramas from Netflix’s local output deals. New and library anime titles drive almost half of Netflix’s consumption in Japan.

“U.S. and Korean series were almost equivalent in driving consumption share in Southeast Asia in the third quarter, while Thai series and movies have started to break through in key markets.”

The company ranked the 15 (new release) shows with the highest travelability. Unsurprisingly, “Squid Game” headed the six Korean titles on the list. From Thailand, “Girl From Nowhere” season two, “Bangkok Breaking” season 1 and “Deep” made the top 15. “Sex/Life” season one headed the U.S. rankings, while the U.K.’s “Sex Education” season three and Spain’s “Money Heist” season five headed the international titles in the chart.

“As we move into 2022, we expect Korean dramas and a new slate of Japanese anime, dramas and movies to play a major role in the region, while emerging regional interest in Thai series and movies is likely to attract further investment from Netflix.”