Leading South Korean tech conglomerate Naver is to invest KRW40 billion ($352 million) in Tving, the streaming video platform spun off from CJ ENM. The move is intended to accelerate Tving’s expansion within Korea and abroad.
The agreement expands Naver’s equity stake in Tving to 15% and makes it the second largest shareholder, after CJ ENM.
Analysis firm Nielsen Koreanclick recently reported that Tving has 3.34 million subscribers, which would put it close behind Netflix. The company has not confirmed that figure, but says it aims to reach eight million subscribers by the end of 2023.
Naver and Tving previously announced a stock swap in October last year. In January this year they linked their membership schemes. They also began cooperation on content matters. The first joint project was “Girls’ High School Mystery Class.”
Naver, long a major player in social media and internet search services, is on course to becoming a serious player in content. It recently paid $600 million to acquire Wattpad, the online literature site that has hatched a string of movies and TV series worldwide, and will merge that with its own Webtoon animation operation.
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Naver also recently announced plans to invest $363 million in Weverse (formerly known as beNX), a tech services and social media company that is part of Hybe Entertainment, the fast-growing management firm behind K-pop sensation BTS.
“Through close cooperation with Naver, we will strengthen the original content of Tving with well-made pieces that can go viral not only domestically, but also in the global market,” said Tving CEO Yang Ji-eul said.
“We plan to diversify our content portfolio through aggressive investments and beef up television-specific services like providing personalized content,” he added.
Tving is already stepping up it original content creation operations after CJ ENM pledged to spend KRW5 trillion ($4.48 billion) on content by the end of 2025, with much of that channeled through the streamer. Already straddling entertainment shows, drama, film and sports, Tving expects to launch 30 new shows this calendar year.