Is Netflix Riding the Korean Wave or Vice Versa?| Duality of K-Content in the Era of Netflix: An Investigation of Korean “Netflix Original” Characteristics

Kristin April Kim, Ji Hoon Park, Sola Yoon, Yue Wang, Hayoung Bae, Kieu Trang Luc


Through a comprehensive quantitative analysis of all non-U.S. Netflix Originals from 2015 to 2021, this study examines whether Korean content carries distinct characteristics compared with those of other countries. The findings reveal a predominance of dark K-dramas and a duality to Korean Netflix Original programming, characterized by high viewership and a lack of genre diversity. Netflix’s persistent focus on a limited set of genres can be both advantageous and restrictive, potentially fostering a unique K-drama brand or hindering the exploration of diverse genres. Therefore, this study recommends emphasizing platform studies and a political-economic framework in future research on the Korean Wave to better understand the evolving K-drama landscape, ensure continued growth and diversity of Korean content, and address challenges and opportunities posed by dominant platforms like Netflix.


Netflix international content strategy, K-drama, Korean Wave

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