Southeast Asians Are Watching More K-Dramas Than Western Content 


The Korean Wave has officially surpassed Western content, at least in this corner of the world. 

According to Media Partners Asia, content of Korean origin took up roughly 34 percent of all videos watched in 2020 in Southeast Asia. This includes videos on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Netflix, and other streaming sites. Western content came second at 30 percent, followed by local content, European content, and “others.” 

After the massive success of shows like Squid Game and Crash Landing on You, this should come as no surprise. Netflix has even ramped up its K-drama production investment to a whopping $700 million as the streamer leads all premium content sites in Korean content. Meanwhile, on the Oscars stage, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite brought the attention of Western critics to Korea’s unique storytelling style. As for K-pop, BTS is a well-known global phenomenon, but it’s also an economic powerhouse bringing in $5 billion per year to the Korean economy. 

Clearly, the Filipinos, Thais, Indonesians, and other Southeast Asians can’t get enough of K-dramas, K-pop, and K-everything. 

Infographic: Room to Grow for Premium Streaming in Southeast Asia | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista


As for the platforms that Southeast Asians are watching this content on, YouTube has been the consistent winner, but it’s been steadily on the decline in recent quarters, from taking up 68 percent of the market share in Q1 to 63 percent in Q3. While premium video and live streaming stay steady at 10 percent and 1 percent, respectively, it’s TikTok that’s been gaining more ground as it increased from 21 percent in Q1 to 26 percent in Q3. 

Digital media seems to be moving on from its formerly Western-dominated and YouTube-centric phase as Asian innovations like Hallyu and TikTok take over the Internet. 

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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