|AVIA: What is the impact of original content on your platform's growth?|
Esther: Our streaming service is continuing to gain momentum globally. In particular, Paramount+ is proving to be one of the fastest growing streaming products with a total number of subscribers topping 43 million in the first quarter of 2022. Content is still undisputedly king, and viewers will go to wherever the desired content is. We believe that the growth of Paramount+ stems from the rich storytelling of our newly launched original series. 1883, for instance, broke ground as Paramount+’s most-watched original series premiere ever when it debuted in December 2021. Paramount+ original HALO, a drama-fantasy series based on the iconic video game franchise, ranked No. 2 to 1883, fuelling sign-up activity for weeks following its March 24 debut in the US. In Korea, HALO garnered massive interest from local media and led to successful audience acquisition for the Paramount+ launch in June.We will continue to invest in original content. Paramount+ recently announced plans to commission 150 international originals by 2025. With our unrivalled footprint and global production capabilities, leveraging the combination of cultures, languages and customs, we create incredible high-quality content across all genres to fuel our global content library.
Jay: TVING's original content has contributed more than 50% of the newly added subscribers. Viewers love the fun, unique and heart-warming content that TVING produces, and we have also successfully embedded and communicated our brand vision via our originals.
AVIA: Why do you think there’s a growing focus on the streaming business in Korea?
Esther: In recent years, Korean content has been enjoying unprecedented popularity overseas thanks to various global OTT services. But it’s not just availability – the content itself has global appeal and offers premium value to audiences and industry players alike, for example Crash Landing on You, Squid Game and Parasite. Following the success of these titles, production studios and showrunners in Korea are now more cognizant of the potential for global reach, and increasingly, are creating content with globalization in mind to travel their content beyond borders.In Korea, linear is still one of the main ways to consume content, but it’s quite evident that streaming is closing the gap at a rather fast pace. I think that content travelability is what makes people here pay a lot of attention these days to the streaming business and its rapid growth, as it holds great potential for successful content export. With original Korean content drawing so much notice in the global streaming market, it’s not surprising that Korea has become a “battleground” for content production.
AVIA: With the recent merger of TVING with Seenz, how will this impact your global and regional growth strategy?
Jay: We target to complete our merger by end of the year. Two giant players in the Korea media and communications industry - KT and CJ ENM – have joined forces to increase the power of K-content regionally and globally, and the TVING-Seenz merger is one of the initiatives the two companies have planned. It not only helps TVING become a leader in the Korea OTT market and enter the global market faster, but also nurtures synergy in other areas such as content creation.
AVIA: With rising production costs and the prevalence of “hit and run” subscribers, what else can streaming services offer other than great content?
Esther: On service platforms, a positive viewing experience that offers effortless access and easy-to-use interface can significantly increase the subscriber retention rate, ultimately driving overall business growth. We aim to provide an easy and reliable service that is centred on personalized recommendations, search capabilities and seamless experiences across multiple devices.As with any business that provides direct service to consumers, I think that brand loyalty and consumer engagement are also important factors to subscriber retention. Paramount has a wide range of touchpoints with consumers, such as theme parks, merchandise and live events which further deepen engagement and fuel fandom. By expanding beloved IPs beyond screens, audiences not only enjoy a mountain of entertainment on our services but are also exposed to more immersive experiences of great content first-hand. This certainly helps raise brand awareness and foster brand affinity for our streaming product.
Jay: Subscription businesses - whether it's newly merged OTT services or more traditional ones such as cable TV, mobile communications and so on - always suffer from customer churn. The only way to prevent unsubscription is to increase the service stickiness and that requires not only creating or licensing a great content library but also to present and recommend relevant content to each viewer. The longer users stay, the more room there is to cover production costs - it is the virtuous cycle TVING targets to achieve.