|Disney Plus, the entertainment giant's online streaming service, is expected to be launched in Korea next year at the earliest. / Captured from Disney Plus' website|
By Jun Ji-hye
SK Telecom has emerged as a leading candidate among local mobile carriers that will partner with Disney's new streaming service Disney Plus, according to industry officials Monday.
Disney Plus, the entertainment giant's streaming service, was launched on Nov. 12 in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands, with industry officials here expecting the service to be launched in Korea next year at the earliest.
As Disney joined hands with NTT Docomo for the launch of the streaming service in Japan in the first half of the year, eyes have been on which mobile carrier here will become Disney's partner for the Korean launch.
|SK Telecom CEO Park Jung-ho|
"We have met with Disney officials. I cannot talk about details yet," he told reporters, Nov. 29, after a meeting with ICT Minister Choi Ki-young and CEOs of the nation's three mobile carriers.
Industry officials have so far expected either SK Telecom or KT to form a partnership with Disney Plus, as LG Uplus has already entered into partnership with Netflix, another streaming giant.
Park's comments signaled that SK Telecom is more likely to join hands with Disney.
Disney Plus, which offers a wide selection of content from across Marvel, Disney, National Geographic and 20th Century Fox, attracted about 10 million customers within the first day of its broad international launch, according to Disney.
Analysts in and outside the country are paying keen attention on whether the new streaming service filled with powerful content will be able to disrupt the hold that Netflix has had on the market.
|KT Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu|
If the partnership with Disney is accomplished, the Korean telecom company would be able to offer Korean content to Disney Plus, and in return, would be able to provide its subscribers with Disney content, according to industry officials.
At a time when LG Uplus has brought about good results in its media business through its partnership with Netflix, eyes are now on KT's strategies.
KT launched its mobile OTT service Seezn, Nov. 28, saying it will cooperate with SBS, JTBC and CJ to create original content.
"We will focus on advancing Seezn services for now," a KT official said.
But industry officials noted that the content to be offered in Seezn would be not enough to attract subscribers, compared to enormous content offered by Netflix and Disney Plus.