Growth in paid SVOD subscriptions slowed sharply in the first quarter of 2022 in South Korea, one of the most fiercely contested entertainment markets. Net new additions were some 600,000, down from 1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. The new additions advanced the total number of paid streaming video subscriptions in the country to 14.7 million at the end of March.

The data was published by research house Media Partners Asia in its latest South Korea Online Video Consumer Insights & Analytics. It leans on passive tracking of thousands of consumers by its AMPD subsidiary.

The report found that Korea’s SVOD leaders Netflix, Wavve, TVing, Coupang Play and Disney+ largely maintained category share in the first quarter, representing an aggregate 86% of SVOD subscriptions and 83% consumer time spent watching premium video. Netflix, Wavve, Tving and Disney+ each had hits with original content in the quarter, while Coupang scored with American Football. Netflix retained its position as market leader with an estimated 5 million subscriptions, ahead of TVing with roughly half that figure.

The report was published the same day that Paramount+ was launched in Korea as a free add-on to TVing. Apple TV+ TV launched in November 2021 in Korea, but it has yet to break into the ranks of the top five premium streamers.

“At nearly 15 million paid SVOD subscriptions and five major brands investing heavily in local content, the Korean SVOD industry remains healthy and competitive, though growth slowed considerably in the quarter,” said Vivek Couto, MPA’s executive director.

“In a post-pandemic environment, Korean consumers were drawn to linear television in the first quarter to catch major events like the Winter Olympics in February and coverage of a close Korean presidential election in March…. contributing to a slower quarter for SVOD.

The AMPD data shows that Korean-made content continues to dominate the market. Korean TV dramas accounted for 48% of consumption, while Korean variety and reality shows grabbed another 23% of viewing time. Among other categories, Korean movies took a 4% share, U.S. series 8%, U.S. films 5%, Japanese anime 3% and Chinese-made content 2%.