Wavve buys KOCOWA – Specialty Streamer of Korean Content from the Americas

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WavveOne of the most popular Korean-owned video streaming sites has announced plans to be bought out KOCOWAa specialist distributor of Korean content in Americas. Wavve believes that the acquisition will allow it to expand into the American market and the global marketplace.

These two companies already share significant overlaps in their ownership structures. Wavve, which is based mainly within South Africa, operates almost exclusively. Korea and competes with Netflix, Disney Plus and Tving, is jointly owned by the country’s three main public broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS and private sector giant SK Telecom. KOCOWA is jointly owned and managed by SBS, MBC, and KBS.

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KOCOWA offers Korean content to subscribers in more than 30 countries across the Americas. This includes the U.S. and Canada as well as Mexico and Mexico. It has its own streaming application ‘KOCOWA+’ and also distributes content to local OTT and cable TV service providers including Amazon Prime Video, Google TV, Rakuten Viki, Roku, Comcast Xfinity, Xumo, and COX.

“With the acquisition of KOCOWA, Wavve has positioned itself as a provider of main broadcasting content and original drama, film, entertainment [and] documentary content for Korean subscribers as well as the subscribers in the Americas,” Wavve said. “Wavve […] will provide a wider global audience with an original lineup of popular dramas such as ‘Weak Hero Class 1,’ which was streamed concurrently in Korea and overseas. Wavve also plans to offer a variety of content services including the globally popular dramas including ‘The Law Café’ and ‘Cheer Up’ and global artist content such as NCT’s reality-variety show titled ‘Welcome to NCT Universe’.”

The company also said that it aims to uses KOCOWA’s English, Spanish and Portuguese subtitling and dubbing service for more content.

“With the acquisition KOCOWA, Wavve plans to gradually expand its global business and strengthen its strategic partnership with global media groups to facilitate joint investment in content and grow the subscriber base,” said Lee Tae-hyun, the CEO of Wavve.

Korean content is in high demand. Streaming platforms who consider Korea their fiefdom are also in fierce competition. These include Netflix, the streaming market leader in Korea and Disney+, which is investing heavily. Tving is also backed by CJ ENM and JTBC, Wavve, Wavve, and startup Watcha. Other multi-territory platforms too have made Korean content a core part of their mission, including Rakuten’s Viki and PCCW’s Viu, which does not operate within Korea.

Players are having to carefully review their strategies, both domestically and internationally, due to increasing costs and increased competition. Korean media reported that Tving (and Watcha) and Wavve ($120 million) lost a combined KRW157billion last year. About KRW56million (42.5 million) of this was paid to Wavve.

These pressures might push them towards offering ad supported tiers to support various forms or partnership or spark mergers.

There has been some consolidation within the Korean streaming market. Local player Seezn is to be acquired by Tving. Financial analysts speculate that Watcha, which acts as a streamer between Korea and Japan may be a target for another Korean tech giant LG U+.

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