Disney Partnering with Mobile Carriers for Disney Plus in S.Korea

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Industry officials said on Monday that SK Telecom emerged as the leading candidate among other local mobile carriers that would partner with the new streaming platform Disney Plus.

Disney Plus, Disney’s streaming service, launched on November 12 in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands. Korean industry officials expect the entertainment giant to release the platform in the country early next year.

Eyes have been on SK Telecom, becoming Disney’s partner after Disney joined with NTT Docomo for the launch of the service in Japan in the first half of the year.

Park Jung-ho, SK Telecom’s CEO, made official that the top mobile carrier negotiated with Disney for the joint venture.

The CEO announced to reporters on November 29, “We have met with Disney officials. I cannot talk about details yet.” The statement came after the meeting with the CEOs of the country’s three mobile carriers and ICT Minister Choi Ki-young.

Industry officials so far expect either SK Telecom or KT to join hands with Disney Plus, as LG Uplus already made a partnership with Netflix, a competitor streaming giant.

The statement from Park indicated that SK Telecom is more likely to partner with Disney in launching the service.

Disney Plus offers a wide variety of content from Marvel, Disney, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. According to Disney, the service attracted around 10 million customers within the first day of its release internationally.

Analysts, both local and foreign, are paying close attention to whether compelling content from the new streaming platform can compete with Netflix and ultimately disrupt the domination of Netflix on the market.

SK Telecom, along with the three of the country’s largest broadcasters, operates the integrated video streaming service dubbed Wavve.

According to industry officials, if the partnership between SK Telecom and Disney is successful, the mobile carrier would be able to release Korean content to Disney Plus, and vice versa would be able to offer its customers with Disney content.

Eyes are now on KT’s strategies on how to compete with LG Uplus’ good results in its media business after partnering with Netflix.

KT released its mobile over-the-top (OTT) service Seezn on November 28, stating it would collaborate with CJ, SBS, and JTBC to produce original content.

A KT official said, “We will focus on advancing Seezn services for now.”

However, industry officials compared the enormous content offered by Disney Plus and Netflix to content provided in Seezn, arguing that it may not be enough to appeal and attract subscribers.

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