Seoul, South Korea – Netflix and SK Broadband have entered into a new strategic partnership, aimed at providing better entertainment experiences to their customers. Following this, both companies have also withdrawn their previous lawsuits with one another, following SK Broadband’s case filed against Netflix back then whether content providers that generate large volumes of traffic should pay for network usage.

In a new statement, SK Telecom and SK Broadband aim to help customers enjoy Netflix shows and films on mobile devices and IPTV (B tv) with easier access and payment options. SK Telecom and SK Broadband will offer various price plans and products, including bundled packages.

Moreover, the two companies also plan to introduce services combined with Netflix’s ad-supported price plan to allow more customers to enjoy Netflix.

In addition to the partnership, SK Telecom and SK Broadband will explore opportunities with Netflix to leverage AI technologies developed by SK Telecom and SK Broadband, such as conversational UX and personalised recommendation technologies, to create better entertainment experiences for customers.

Choi Hwanseok, vice president of corporate strategy at SK Broadband, stated, “This strategic partnership with Netflix originates from the philosophy of SK Telecom and SK Broadband, where customer value is prioritized, and comes as part of our efforts to provide customers with an enhanced media service environment. We will continue to evolve into an AI company and work together with various players at home and abroad.”

Meanwhile, Tony Zameczkowski, vice president of APAC partnerships at Netflix, commented, “The partnership with SK Telecom, a leader in Korea’s telecommunication and innovative technology industries, holds special significance as it enables Netflix to enhance entertainment experiences for a broader Korean audience. Netflix is committed to creating and delivering the best stories to members in Korea and audiences worldwide, and we have high expectations for the journey ahead as partners serving our customers with SK Telecom and SK Broadband.”

SK Broadband previously filed a case against Netflix back in 2020 when the broadband company said that Netflix should be charged for excess network usasge following the surge of viewership from the popular South Korean series “Squid Game”. Netflix also fired right back at SK Broadband back then, saying that it has no obligation to pay network usage fees.

Seoul, South Korea – Popular streaming platform Netflix has announced that it has pledged US$2.5b in investment to South Korea’s entertainment scene, including the creation of films, series, and other unscripted shows for the next four years.

The announcement was made following a meeting with Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos with South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol following the latter’s ongoing state trip in the United States.

According to Sarandos, said investment is twice the company had previously pledged in the Korean market since they started service in Korea in 2016.

“We were able to make this decision because we have great confidence that the Korean creative industry will continue to tell great stories. We were also inspired by the President’s love and strong support for the Korean entertainment industry and fueling the Korean wave,” he said.

Sarandos also added that with the partnership, they will continue to grow with the local industry while sharing the joy of entertainment with Korean storytellers to their fans around the world.

“I have no doubt our investment will strengthen our long-term partnership with Korea and Korea’s creative ecosystem. We are deepening our partnership with the Korean creative industry, which has produced global hits such as ‘Squid Game’, ‘The Glory’, and ‘Physical:100’,” he concluded.

Bangkok, Thailand In partnership with Wunderman Thompson and Netflix, one of the top sauce and canned food companies in Thailand, Roza, has co-created a film-to-kitchen sauce inspired by Netflix’s biggest Thai film called ‘Hunger’. The Roza Chef@Home special sauce was derived from the infamous ‘Cry Baby’ noodles featured in the film. 

‘Hunger’ tells the story of a young street-food cook named Aoy who runs her family’s battered stir-fried noodles restaurant. One day, she receives an invitation to join Team Hunger, Thailand’s No.1 luxury chef’s table team led by a famous chef. 

The movie gained epic attention on social media and topped Netflix’s trending movie lists in Thailand and in the world overnight.

“Roza Chef@Home Hunger sauce is a co-creation with Netflix to provide cooking convenience to consumers. With just one bottle of Roza Chef@Home, everybody can be a chef at home as we believe that gathering for mealtimes is the most valuable time for families,” said Khun Suwit Wangpattanamongkol, marketing director of Hi-Q Food Product Co Ltd.

Wangpattanamongkol added, “Our purpose at Roza is to be the food solutions company who fulfills the happiness of families. Having the opportunity to work with Netflix in this Hunger movie has been an enriching brand collaboration with this fresh and exciting concept. The output is a powerful one.”

Park Wannasiri, chief creative officer of Wunderman Thompson Thailand also said, “This collaboration took us a year to make happen, starting with R&D, to production line and distribution. From the entertainment world to your kitchen, Roza Chef@Home Hunger sauce is the next level of brand experience where anyone can satisfy their Hunger from screen to table in five minutes.”

Paris, France Apparel and fashion brand Lacoste has teamed up with streaming service giant Netflix to release a new collection celebrating some of the extraordinary universes of the most beloved shows on the platform, including ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Bridgerton’, ‘Lupin’, ‘Money Heist’, ‘The Witcher’, ‘Sex Education’, ‘Shadow and Bone’ and ‘Elite’.

Starting April 12, the iconic Lacoste clothing — from polos and sweatshirts to tracksuits — has been reimagined from the ‘Upside Down’ of ‘Stranger Things to ‘Las Encinas’ high school of ‘Elite’, with the Lacoste crocodile dawning the costumes from these fan-favourite Netflix shows.

“We think products can be a powerful medium for storytelling and partnering with Lacoste presents a unique opportunity to blend the worlds of fashion and entertainment. This collection is a compelling and creative way for fans to express their love for our stories and characters,” said Josh Simon, VP of consumer products at Netflix

Catherine Spindler, Lacoste’s deputy CEO also commented, “We are delighted with this collaboration which has resulted in a unique encounter between our two worlds and two global references of creativity and innovation, both with an unparalleled power to bring together communities from all walks of life. The collection born from our collaboration is the embodiment of this powerful encounter, of our respective codes, influences and know-how.” 

As part of the collaboration, videos were also created featuring the Lacoste crocodile with the codes of the various Netflix shows.

Recently, Netflix has also tapped virtual reality (VR) experience company Sandbox VR to create a VR experience based on its popular South Korean drama series ‘Squid Game’.

Hong Kong – Netflix has tapped virtual reality (VR) experience company Sandbox VR to create a VR experience based on the popular South Korean drama series ‘Squid Game’, which has been the platform’s most popular series to date. It is set for release in the latter part of 2023.

In the VR experience, players are transported to iconic ‘Squid Game’ locations, where they become contestants in a variety of pulse-pounding challenges inspired by the Netflix series and compete against each other to be the last one standing. 

After each game session, players will receive personalised highlight videos capturing their in-game reactions and recapping how their very own ‘Squid Game’ story unfolded.

Steve Zhao, founder and CEO of Sandbox VR, said, “Our mission is to bring people closer together through world-class immersive experiences. What could be a more perfect fit than Squid Game, the most widely shared and discussed television series of the past years. It’s an amazing opportunity to partner with Netflix to provide these fans the chance to transport themselves into the world of the show.”

Sandbox VR currently boasts six proprietary experiences based on both exclusive licensing of well-loved Hollywood properties as well as their own unforgettable intellectual property. All Sandbox VR experiences are developed by an in-house AAA gaming studio led by game industry veterans and are specifically designed for groups to play as social experiences. 

Netflix has been doing several campaigns and outdoor activations to promote some of its series including Trese, All of Us Are Dead, Money Heist: Korea, Red Notice, amongst others.

Singapore – With just a few days before the Lunar New Year celebrations, streaming platform Netflix goes an understated but no less unconventional route of developing a bespoke piece of paper artwork to commemorate the festivity. The artwork, which was done together with global creative company Mash and Malaysian artist Eten Teo, aims to highlight the value of ‘togetherness’.

Framed with the symbolic elements fish, coins, and peonies, which mean abundance, wealth, and prosperity, respectively; the artwork by Teo showcases interactions of the cross-generational family when celebrating the Lunar New Year, a tradition that is deeply rooted in the history and culture of Asian communities.

Rich Akers, Mash Director and Project Lead of Creative Services in Asia, said, “We’re always excited to work with Netflix. Building a virtual creative studio and partnering with an incredible artist, like Eten to deliver on such an ambitious vision, is not a project you get to do every day.” 

In order for the artwork to be an authentic representation of the Asian festivity, Mash curated a Virtual Creative Studio that brought together seven creatives from Mash’s global network. Each one dug deep into their experiences in order to uncover that one key theme that spoke to the true essence of the celebration—the tumultuous and chaotic beauty of cross-generational families over the most important holiday of the Asia calendar. 

The papercut piece is the first physical artwork that is digitised and featured on a local moment on Netflix, a specially-curated collection of titles that celebrates seasonal moments or social events that are important to local audiences.

The artwork will be live on the Netflix screens of viewers across Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan for the duration of the holiday. 

Singapore – Popular streaming platform Netflix is finally rolling out its ad-supported plan on November 3 this year, starting off with a price of US$6.99 a month, three dollars less than the typical US$9.99 a month subscription plan. 

The ad-supported plan will first roll out in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Through the new plan, users will be presented with a much smaller library of movies and series, and will have on average 4-5 minutes of ads per hour, ranging from 15 to 30 seconds each. Users will not be able to download their favourite shows for offline viewing.

In order to roll out their ad-supported plan, Netflix has partnered with DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science to verify the viewability and traffic validity of their ads starting in Q1 2023. Ads can be specifically targeted by the geographical location of the viewer and the genre they are watching.

Mark Zagorski, CEO, DoubleVerify, said, “Over the past decade, the team at Netflix has done a tremendous job building one of the most popular streaming services in the world. As we continue to expand our coverage across premium video and CTV environments, DV is thrilled to extend our third-party verification solutions across their platform, ensuring campaigns meet key quality criteria while maximizing performance and outcomes for advertisers”.

Meanwhile, Lisa Utzschneider, CEO at IAS, commented, “We are excited to partner with Netflix as they introduce their much-anticipated ad-supported tier that will dramatically increase the global supply of CTV advertising inventory. IAS provides marketers with the tools necessary to monitor the quality of their media buys as they expand their CTV inventory. We look forward to offering essential coverage to brands and the ability to purchase ads on the Netflix platform with confidence.”

It should be recalled that Netflix tapped Microsoft as its adtech partner following their interest to launch an ad-supported plan.

“While it’s still very early days, we’re pleased with the interest from both consumers and the advertising community — and couldn’t be more excited about what’s ahead. As we learn from and improve the experience, we expect to launch in more countries over time,” Netflix said in a statement.

Netflix’s launch of the ad-supported plan comes after six months of their interest to launch said offering. The platform has been losing performance this year, resulting in a massive layoff and slow growth.

Singapore – Streaming giants Netflix and Disney+ are going head-to-head with their ad-supported subscriptions this year by announcing its latest adtech tie-ups. Disney+ has tied up with The Trade Desk while Netflix has tied up with Microsoft.

Both streaming platforms previously operate on an ad-free subscription basis, but have shifted to these ad-supported ones following competition and expansion to other regions, including Asia-Pacific. Disney+ had announced its intention to do so by late this year, and Netflix as well after reporting substantial loss in subscriptions in 2021.

In the tie-up between Disney Advertising and The Trade Desk, advertisers can access Disney’s portfolio of premium supply, rooted in secure data collaboration and powered by automation through Disney’s Clean Room technology.

In addition, said agreement will enable a first-of-its kind integration between Disney’s proprietary ‘Audience Graph’ and the open-source identity framework, Unified ID 2.0, within a secure environment. As a result, buyers will be able to discover more addressable, biddable inventory across the Disney portfolio, all validated by Disney’s proprietary Audience Graph.

Rita Ferro, president for advertising sales at Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said, “Disney Advertising had a bold vision backed by proven results from the start, and we’re thrilled to continue to deliver on our commitment to power greater automation and addressability for our customers through this expanded deal with The Trade Desk.”

She added, “We have spent years investing in our data and technology strategy to create innovative solutions for advertisers to engage their audiences with greater precision and accuracy in a privacy-focused way. This first-to-market capability sets the stage to empower access to the Disney portfolio, validated by powerful audience insights, in a way that’s automated and accessible.”

Meanwhile, Tim Sims, chief revenue officer at The Trade Desk, commented, “With this agreement, Disney and The Trade Desk are pioneering a new approach to audience addressability in a post-cookie environment. By creating interoperability between Unified ID 2.0 and Disney’s Audience Graph, we are unlocking the opportunity for our customers to activate their first-party data at scale programmatically, against some of the world’s most premium content, across all channels. As a result, advertisers will be able to deliver relevant advertising, while ensuring consumers have more control of their own privacy.”

On the other hand, the partnership between Netflix and Microsoft is that it allows marketers to look to Microsoft for their advertising needs and will have access to the Netflix audience and premium connected TV inventory. All ads served on Netflix will be exclusively available through the Microsoft platform.

Greg Peters, COO at Netflix, said, “Microsoft has the proven ability to support all our advertising needs as we together build a new ad-supported offering. More importantly, Microsoft offered the flexibility to innovate over time on both the technology and sales side, as well as strong privacy protections for our members.”

He added, “It’s very early days and we have much to work through. But our long-term goal is clear: More choice for consumers and a premium, better-than-linear TV brand experience for advertisers. We’re excited to work with Microsoft as we bring this new service to life.”

Manila, Philippines – To promote the online series ‘Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Era’, streaming platform Netflix in the Philippines has launched an outdoor campaign that depicts the show’s heist in a literal sense.

Mall-goers at the SM Megamall in the city of Mandaluyong in Metro Manila, as well as in TriNoMa, were surprised to see an outdoor installation where an armoured truck, seemingly stalled due to colliding with a street light post, is brimming with a lot of items and goods, including play money, boxes of Korean goods, among others.

‘Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Era’ is a South Korean television series which is based on the popular Spanish heist crime drama series ‘Money Heist’. The series depicts a hostage crisis situation set in a unified Korean Peninsula.

The campaign is made in collaboration with local creative agency GIGIL, who has long been known for making local campaigns for Netflix, with titles such as ‘All Of Us Are Dead’, ‘Trese’, and ‘Red Notice’.

Photo courtesy of SM Megamalls

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Netflix said in order to select what type of outdoor campaign they will execute, they always consider the uniqueness a series brings to its viewers.

“Things that get noticed get talked about, and things that get talked about are searched for–and in Netflix’s case, watched. This has been the underlying principle behind our campaigns for the brand. Conversation enables conversion,” Netflix said.

For this particular case, Netflix banked on Filipinos’ love for Korean-related products, and spun the campaign based on the series’ premise.

“Money Heist Korea is a spin-off of an already existing franchise (La Casa de Papel), so we did some research on what makes it different from the original. The answer was right under our noses–it’s Korean. While it has a similar plot, there are a lot of Korean nuances that give it its own distinct flavour. We deliberately leaned into its Koreanness, because not only did it make the Joint Economic Area special, it also made it fit well with Filipinos–after all, we are fans of Korea’s products, content, and culture. If it’s Korean, then it’s probably worth giving attention to.”

When asked as to why they think outdoor campaigns still matter, Netflix told MARKETECH APAC that one of the best ways to create a digitally-led campaign is to engage with the audience in real-life, then bring the experience to their devices.

“There’s a different kind of magic when you experience something first-hand, and getting to experience this for yourself (which you once just saw on-screen) compels you to share it, and convince others to experience it for themselves, too,” they concluded.

United States – Global streaming giant Netflix has announced its second wave of layoffs amidst its weak performance this year. This new wave of layoffs included 300 staffers–the majority of which are from the US and the rest are from other countries.

Netflix had already laid off around 150 employees in May after reporting the platform lost around 200,000 subscribers in its most recent quarter.

“While we continue to invest significantly in the business, we made these adjustments so that our costs are growing in line with our slower revenue growth,” Netflix told Reuters in an exclusive statement.

In another report from Reuters, Netflix said that they are now in talks with several companies for advertising partnerships, including reportedly with Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google; and with Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal for marketing tie-ups.

“We’re not adding ads to Netflix as you know it today. We’re adding an ad tier for folks who say ‘hey, I want a lower price and I’ll watch ads’,” Ted Sarandos, co-CEO at Netflix, said during the recently-concluded Cannes Lions 2022.

Netflix’s move into ad-supported subscription stems from their first quarter 2022 earnings call in April this year, where they reported the company’s slow growth.

“Our revenue growth has slowed considerably as our results and forecast [show]. Streaming is winning over linear, as we predicted, and Netflix titles are very popular globally. However, our relatively high household penetration – when including the large number of households sharing accounts – combined with competition, is creating revenue growth headwinds,” the company said in its letter to shareholders.

During the earnings call, Wilmot Reed Hastings, co-CEO at Netflix revealed that one way to increase the price spread is advertising on low-end plans and to have lower prices with advertising. This is despite his reluctance to deal with advertising complexities.

“I’m a bigger fan of consumer choice. And allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price and are advertising-tolerant get what they want makes a lot of sense. So that’s something we’re looking at now,” Hastings said.