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KT aims to become comprehensive media group with production of original content

[Courtesy of KT]

SEOUL -- KT, a top telecom company in South Korea, will accelerate the production and distribution of original content with the aim of becoming a comprehensive media group by utilizing its vast infrastructure despite concerns over fierce competition in the country's saturated content market.

KT Studio Genie, launched in March 2021, will serve as a control tower that oversees media content capabilities of all KT units covering web novels, webtoons, music streaming and over-the-top (OTT) services. "We are confident that KT is South Korea's only business operator with a strong content business infrastructure," KT's customer business head Kang Kook-hyun said at a media event on April 7.

"Based on our successful experience in the media platform business, we will continue to grow in the content business and contribute to enhancing South Korea's status in the global market," Kang said, adding that KT is ready to face neck-through competition and create a win-win ecosystem, citing the worldwide popularity of K-content.

By promoting joint production with businesses with excellent production capabilities, KT would produce masterpieces that can compete globally and expand the supply of content to global OTT platforms.

For years, KT has made steady preparations to strengthen its media value chain by acquiring Altimedia, HCN and Media Genie or through business ties with competent companies such as CJ ENM. Altimedia absorbed by KT in 2021 is a domestic software solution developer for digital broadcasting. In March 2022, CJ ENM forged a strategic alliance with KT by investing 100 billion won in Studio Genie and agreed to cooperate in all directions from content investment to production, organization, and distribution.

Studio Genie has unveiled a lineup of 24 original dramas to be introduced sequentially from May. "We have strengthened our basic ability to present differentiated content by focusing on securing original intellectual properties and strengthening production capabilities over the past year," Studio Genie CEO Kim Chul-yeon said.

As a key window for the spread of KT content, sky TV will invest more than 500 billion won ($407 million) for three years to secure 30 dramas and more than 300 entertainment shows. "We will greatly expand KT's composition of differentiated original content to grow into a brand worth one trillion won by 2025, and leap forward as a global IP operator," said sky TV CEO Yoon Yong-phil.

Genie Music invested 46.4 billion won to acquire a controlling 38.6 percent stake in Millie's Library, an online e-book subscription platform, in September 2021. The two companies would adopt AI technologies to offer personalized audio content services. Millie's Library with some 30,000 e-book content and some 1,000 audiobooks is the country's most popular online e-book subscription service with about 210,000 monthly active users.

KT has released a live commerce feature for its OTT service, Seezn. Live commerce services, which are virtually online home shopping shows, are normally provided through mobile shopping platforms or social media. The real-time show format video content has settled as a new form of entertainment among young consumers who communicate with show hosts to ask questions and participate in events to get special benefits such as discount coupons.


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