Nah Yung Suk, one of South Korea’s most successful TV producers, says the content marketplace in his home country has been divided into two distinct eras: “Before Netflix” and “After Netflix.”
On the latest episode of Variety podcast “Strictly Business,” Nah Yung Suk offers his observations on the rise of Korean popular culture throughout the world. The producer’s latest series reflects the incredible global growth of content imports and exports: “Jinny’s Kitchen,” an unscripted series for Amazon Prime Video, revolves around the opening of Korean street food restaurant in a small town in southeastern Mexico.
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The Netflix effect cited by Producer Nah, as he is widely known, began about five years ago when the streaming giant began investing in original Korean-language content. That influx of capital into the spurred more outside coin to flow into Korean producers, and it also encouraged domestic firms such as CJ ENM to step up their ambition.
“Netflix is dominating. They’re united the content kingdom,” Producer Nah, as he is widely known, says in an interview conducted through translator Sumi Choi on Aug. 18, during the CJ ENM-produced KCON fan convention devoted to Korean culture in downtown Los Angeles.
When Nah and his team were in Mexico shooting “Jinny’s Kitchen,” he was pleasantly surprised to learn how many locals were aware of Netflix’s hit Korean thriller series “Squid Game.”
“It was very unimaginable a few years ago but now people are watching the same content and enjoying the same content and sharing their feelings at the same time,” Producer Nah says. “If someone writes a textbook in 10 years, I think there will be an area in it for ‘Before Netflix’ and ‘After Netflix.’ “
Producer Nah also weighs in on his experience in having his reality formats adapted in other markets, as NBC did in 2016 with “Better Late Than Never,” a U.S. spin on Producer Nah’s reality-expedition show “Grandpa Over Flowers.” (“My first impression after watching the first episode was that it was more like scripted sitcom content,” he says.) He reveals why he only recently started working with K-pop stars, aka “idols,” in his TV shows. And he explains how a love of manga and comic books as a youth set him on the path to working in television.
“Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. New episodes debut every Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Play and SoundCloud.
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