Theorizing the Korean Wave| Netflix and Platform Imperialism: How Netflix Alters the Ecology of the Korean TV Drama Industry

Ji Hoon Park, Kristin April Kim, Yongsuk Lee


Applying the concept of platform imperialism, we investigate how Netflix has altered the practices of Korean drama production and the theoretical implications of this influence in the study of the Korean Wave. Despite Netflix’s positive contributions to increasing the reputation of Korean dramas, Netflix’s aggressive international content strategies pose a significant challenge to the Korean media industry. Because Netflix acquires all IP rights to Netflix Korean originals and the global streaming rights to numerous Korean dramas, neither production companies nor Korean television stations gain profits commensurate with the global popularity of Korean dramas. Netflix’s strategic use of the Korean Wave and the aggressive acquisition of the streaming rights of Korean dramas may ultimately work to consolidate platform imperialism.


platform imperialism, Netflix, Korean drama, IP rights

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