|Naver and CJ Group logo / Korea time file|
By Kim Jae-heun
Several domestic content providers and platform operators are working together to create synergy and strengthen their competitive power in the local market amid the prolonging COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak has forced many people to stay home under social distancing measures imposed to prevent spreading of the virus.
This has been problematic for movie theaters and travel agencies; but has brought about a heyday for platform and media businesses.
Internet firm Naver is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the current environment. Thanks to its search engine that handles nearly 75 percent of all web searches in Korea, it easily attracted platform users to shop on its online market.
To cope with continuously increasing demand for order delivery services, Naver signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with CJ Logistics, the country's largest logistics company operated by CJ Group.
Naver and CJ Group engaged in a stock swap and began to cooperate in the field of media. CJ ENM and its television drama production company Studio Dragon agreed to create an investment fund to produce high-quality content targeting the global market.
Naver currently owns a number of intellectual property (IP) rights for webcomics and web novels that have proven their cinematic and entertainment value. They have already gained popularity in the United States, Japan, France and Thailand, helping Naver become the top global webcomic platform operator with over 6.7 million monthly active users.
CJ ENM is making its presence known in the global media content scene with last year's Oscar-winning film "Parasite" and the megahit "Guardian: The Lonely and Great God." CJ ENM has its own media distribution channels in and outside the country through cable network tvN, OCN, Mnet, tvN Asia and Mnet Japan.
"For Naver, it faced limitations in producing media content that requires huge capital and techniques, while CJ ENM did not enjoy much success from its recent products," culture critic Kim Heon-sik said. "Through this MOU, Naver will be able to acquire production skills to create quality content and CJ ENM will earn a strong online channel to develop content power."
The collaboration between the two firms seeks differentiation from global platform operators such as Amazon or Netflix as they are focusing on what they are good at.
Netflix's main concern is to continuously provide original series exclusive on its platform while Naver wants to offer content related to K-pop stars. The genres can overlap in certain areas but Naver fully focuses on connecting musicians with fans online while Netflix streams full TV series.