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Disney Announces Asia-Pacific Originals In Its Bid To Compete With Netflix

Disney announced its new slate of Asia-Pacific content this week for streaming platform Disney+, which will include 18 originals. “Snowdrop,” starring Jung Hae-in and BLACKPINK’s Jisoo will soon be released on its platform, along with police academy drama “Rookies” featuring K-pop star Kang Daniel. With competitor Netflix’s

NFLX
major investments in Asian original content paying off royally— most recently with the explosively popular “Squid Game” — Disney is similarly committing its resources towards developing original content in the region. For context, Netflix announced last year that it was planning to double its spending on Asian original content and also spend $500 million on Korean shows this year.

Aiming to greenlight over 50 Asia-Pacific originals by 2023, Disney’s streaming platform is currently available in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Disney+ will also launch in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan in November 2021. Along with its Disney studio titles, the platform also includes a large library of content from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and National Geographic.

“We are making another commitment by combining the global resources of the company with the best content creators from Asia-Pacific to develop and produce original stories on Disney+,” said Luke Kang, The Walt Disney Company’s Asia-Pacific president. Disney’s APAC content and development head Jessica Kam-Engle added, “We look forward to collaborating with award-winning and emerging creative talent in Asia-Pacific and sharing authentic stories that reflect the unique cultural and social dynamics from this region to global audiences.”

Disney also announced the launch of its “APAC Creative Experience Program,” an initiative which aims to connect hundreds of top creators from the region with Disney’s network. Through creative masterclasses, live panels and other engagement activities, the program will provide opportunities for leading regional creators to meet Disney’s executives and creatives. “We hope that this program will inspire the creative community and add further momentum to the creative development of Asia-Pacific,” Kang said.

South Korean shows in Disney’s pipeline include:  

  • An action hero thriller “Moving,” pitched as a “tent-pole show” based on the webtoon by Kang Full about three teenagers discovering their unusual powers.
  • Romantic melodrama series “Snowdrop” starring top Korean actor Jung Hae-in and BLACKPINK’s Jisoo, with creators from top-bill “Skycastle” series onboard.
  • Documentary “BLACKPINK: The Movie,” in commemoration of the pop group’s fifth year anniversary.
  • “Rookies,” a coming-of-age romantic series set in Korea’s elite police academy, which will be K-pop idol Kang Daniel’s debut drama.

Disney will also launch the following titles from Japan:

  • “Tokyo MER (Mobile Emergency Room),” a collaboration with Japanese broadcaster TBS, is a medical drama starring award-winning actors Ryohei Suzuki and Kento Kaku.
  • Animation “Summer Time Rendering” based on one of the top manga titles with a cumulative total of over 130 million page views on the Japanese web manga app Shonen Jump +.
  • “Yojohan Time Machine Blues,” a new Japanese animated series and sequel to “The Tatami Galaxy,” by the award-winning writer Tomihiko Morimi and production studio Science Saru.
  • A planned anime adaptation of “Twisted Wonderland,” a highly popular mobile game by Aniplex.

Other works on Disney’s slate from around Asia also include:

  • Indonesian comedic drama series “Susah Sinyal” (or “Bad Signal”) about a group of hotel employees managing a classy resort hotel in West Java.
  • Indonesian director Joko Anwar’s “Bumilangit” series, produced by Screenplay.
  • Taiwanese drama “Small & Mighty” starring Chen Bo-Lin in his come-back appearance in a Taiwanese drama since “In Time With You.”
  • “Shipwreck Hunters,” Disney’s first Australian documentary, investigating the iconic shipwreck mysteries along Western Australia’s vast coastline. 
  • “Delicacies Destiny,” a Chinese period drama and veteran producer’s Yu Zheng’s newest endeavour into food rom-com, following the popular “Story of Yanxi Palace.”

Below is a trailer for “Snowdrop,” set to arrive on Disney+ this year.

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