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Wowed by ‘Squid Game’ Success, Disney+ Greenlights Asian Originals

Michael King

On the heels of the international success of the Netflix Original series “Squid Game”, Disney has unveiled 27 new TV series and film titles to be produced and released in the Asia Pacific Region on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar over the next year.

Streaming companies are wide-eyed after “Squid Game’s” success. The Korean thriller series is Netflix’s most-watched piece of content, ever. The breakthrough has streamers looking for their own international smash, not only to appeal to U.S. audiences, but to potential subscribers in new markets.

Disney+ is currently available in the region in eight nations — Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. The service is scheduled to launch in three more nations in the region next month in conjunction with its Disney+ Day: South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

The announced titles include a wide variety of genres, ranging from scripted drama to anime, comedy, fantasy, romance, science-fiction, crime, horror, variety shows, and documentaries.

“We aim to create 50 original series and shows by 2023,” said Luke Kang, Walt Disney’s Asia-Pacific president. “OTT is quickly going mainstream and Disney Plus is well-positioned to take part in that.”

The titles were released as part of a pan-Asia content presentation for Disney+.

Highlights from the slate shown at the presentation included a strong selection of Korean titles, such as a documentary about K-pop supergroup BLACKPINK; “Moving,” a tentpole Korean action series about teens with mysterious powers; and a pair of anticipated K-drama romances, “Snowdrop” and “Rookies.”

Japanese anime also features prominently in Disney’s plans, with shows on the way like “Summer Time Rendering,” based on a best-selling manga of the same name. And from China, Disney has greenlit the food-themed period rom-com “Delicacies Destiny,” from Yu Zheng, the hitmaking producer behind period drama sensation “Story of Yanxi Palace.”

“This is by far Disney’s most ambitious production effort in Asia,” said Jessica Kam-Engle, Disney’s head of content and development in Asia-Pacific.

During the presentation, Disney also showcased content from its Star streaming bundle — including a larger library of content from Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, and Touchstone — as a separate brand that is set to bolster the Disney+ content offering in key Asia markets, such as Japan.

One potential headwind for Disney: Much of the breakthrough entertainment emerging from foreign markets tends to have a violent slant. Disney+ would never be home to something like “Battle Royale,” “Train to Busan,” “The Raid,” “Ringu,” “Audition,” or “Ip Man”

In its mid-August earnings statement, Disney reported that Disney+ had added 13 million subscribers for a global total of 116 million, beating Wall Street forecasts of 113.1 million.

Disney+

Disney+ is an ad-free video streaming service that offers exclusive series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Muppets, and more.

The Disney streaming service costs $7.99 / month, or $79.99 / year ($6.67 / month). You can bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+ for just $13.99 a month (cheaper than Netflix).

The app supports unlimited downloads, four simultaneous streamers, up to 7 profiles, 4K streaming, and includes hundreds of avatars.

The service includes 25+ new original series, 10+ original movies, 7,500 past episodes, 100 recent movies, and 400 library titles including the entire Disney Vault. You can stream original series like “The Mandalorian”, “Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “Loki”, and “Monsters at Work.”

You can see the full list of available Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo shows and movies, or all available Disney Plus content by checking out our Disney+ Streaming Movie List.

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