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Netflix (NFLX) Korean & Japanese Drama The Bittersweet Cancellation of Second Seasons for Netflix’s Korean & Japanese Shows

Netflix NFLX has pulled the plug on second seasons for some of the beloved Korean and Japanese dramas, leaving fans crestfallen.

Disappointing Turns for K-Dramas and Japanese Dramas

While shows like Sweet Home and All of Us Are Dead are set to return for thrilling new seasons, some dramas featuring popular actors like Ahn Hyo Seop and Ji Chang Wook have been canceled after their first season.

K-dramas, which are set to discontinue production, include A Time Called You, Celebrity, Glitch, Mask Girl, and The Sound of Magic. Netflix has also decided not to proceed with the second season of Japanese dramas, including The Days and First Love.

Despite this, 2023 was a great year for Korean dramas with shows like The Good Bad Mother, Crash Course in Romance, King The Land, Sweet Home 2 , and The Glory, among others.

Strengthening the Asia-Pacific Segment

The decision to discontinue some of these shows comes amidst Netflix’s efforts to expand the Korean and Japanese language portfolio, which will potentially strengthen the Asia-Pacific (APAC) segment’s performance in the near term. In the fourth quarter, APAC revenues of $948 million increased 6.6% year over year and accounted for 11.1% of total revenues. The paid subscriber base for APAC also witnessed a commendable 17.1% growth from the year-ago quarter to 42.43 million. The company added 1.88 million paid subscribers in the quarter.

Hope on the Horizon: Upcoming APAC Content Pipeline

2024 also promises to be as entertaining, with several sequels of popular shows returning and some new K-dramas traversing across genres, including rom-coms, murder mysteries, action, and thrillers.

Squid Game Season 2, Sweet Home Season 3, All Of Us Are Dead 2, Mercy For None, Everything Will Come True, and The Bequeathed are among the shows lined up for K-drama fans in 2024.

Netflix is currently producing an upcoming Korean drama, The Trunk, starring Korea’s A-listers like Gong Yoo of Train to Busan and Goblin and Seo Hyun-jin, known for Another Miss Oh and The Beauty Inside.

The company also confirmed the production of Aema, a Korean original series following the struggles of Hui-ran and Joo-ae in creating the 1980s hit film Madame Aema, set in 80s Chungmuro, showcasing the harsh realities of actors in the glitzy Korean film industry.

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Upcoming Japanese content includes new anime series, such as THE ONE PIECE and Mobile Suit Gundam: Requiem for Vengeance and the first anime adaptation of Rising Impact. This is expected to boost the company’s revenues in the upcoming quarters.

Strength Amid Competition

Strong momentum in Netflix’s foreign-language portfolio offerings will benefit top-line growth amid stiff competition from industry peers like Amazon AMZN, Disney DIS, and Warner Bros Discovery WBD.

The decision to cancel certain shows may have disappointed fans, however, it doesn’t necessarily reflect a broader strategy shift but rather a calculated pivot toward delivering content that can secure the company’s competitive edge in Asian markets.

Final Thoughts

Indeed, the cancellation of second seasons for certain Korean and Japanese shows is a bittersweet pill to swallow for many fans. However, with an impressive lineup of new content and the potential for exponential growth in the Asia-Pacific segment, Netflix remains well-positioned to maintain its competitive stance in the industry.

It is worth noting that Netflix’s shares have returned 10.3% in the past six months compared to the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector’s 4.3% rise, reflecting the success of its recently released content and a strong pipeline for 2024. The company has outperformed Warner Bros Discovery and Disney but underperformed Amazon. Notably, for the fourth quarter of 2023, Netflix forecasts earnings of $2.19 per share, significantly up from 12 cents reported in the year-ago quarter.

With an eye on the horizon and a steady course set for the Asia-Pacific region, Netflix’s decision to discontinue certain shows may indeed prove to be a strategic move to reinforce its stronghold in an increasingly competitive streaming landscape.

Onward and upward, Netflix – after all, the show must go on!