The owner of Disney+ announced a major expansion into Asian content on Thursday, with plans to greenlight more than 50 original titles from the region by 2023.
Disney is commissioning new shows from South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan and Indonesia. Many of the programs will be presented in local languages, from Bahasa Indonesia to Mandarin.
Jessica Kam-Engle, Disney’s head of content and development for Asia Pacific, noted the popularity of Korean content in a presentation shown to the media on Thursday, saying that it had “evolved into a global phenomenon.”
The platform currently has more than 116 million subscribers across 61 markets around the world, including eight in the Asia Pacific region, such as India, Australia and New Zealand.
Executives are now gearing up for more launches, with debuts in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan expected next month.
To blitz each market, the Hollywood heavyweight will be relying on the help of local creators, according to Luke Kang, the company’s president in Asia Pacific.
“Consumers across the region are increasingly demanding the best of global and the best of local language content,” he said.
Disney wants to combine the two by leaning into its storied history and existing army of talent, which include creatives from Pixar and Marvel. The company announced plans Thursday to connect hundreds of Asian creators to Disney’s global executives and producers through masterclasses, live panels and other activities.
“I believe we are at an inflection point,” said Kang. “Streaming is quickly going mainstream, and Disney+ is well placed to play a central role.”
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