Staff Cuts Hit Disney Plus in Korea Amidst Global Downsizing

disney plus korea
disney plus korea
Credit: Disney Plus

Disney Korea’s entire streaming content team, responsible for sourcing original shows, has confirmed its departure. This change comes as a ripple effect of the global layoffs by Walt Disney.

 

Industry insiders revealed on the 15th that all 15 members of Disney Korea’s streaming team responsible for finding original K-content for Disney Plus have left the company. Rumors indicate that they have temporarily halted original content production in Korea.

A source close to Disney Korea commented, “As far as I understand, the local Disney content team is gone. There’s talk about restructuring the original content team in the States as well.” Another source added, “The future of Disney Plus remains uncertain after revealing the roster of their original content announced for this year.”

This dismantlement is seen as a result of Disney Plus’s underperformance in Korea. Launched in Korea on November 12th, 2021, Disney Plus had about 1,797,157 monthly active users (MAU) as of May this year. During the same period, local streaming services like TVING (5.15 million), Coupang Play (4.31 million), and Wavve (3.92 million) recorded approximately twice the number of monthly active users.

Despite these numbers, Disney had invested heavily in K-content. The dramas Big Bet and Moving had production costs of 20 billion won (about $15.7 million) and 50 billion won (about $40 million), respectively. However, the return on these investments has been less than satisfactory.

Earlier, Disney CEO Bob Iger had announced reductions of manpower globally, focusing on streamlining underperforming business units. Disney initiated its layoffs in February of this year, aiming to save around 5.5 billion dollars by letting go of 7,000 employees worldwide. The company has also moved forward with shuttering TV channels operating in the Korean, Hong Kong, Taiwanese, and Southeast Asian markets, including National Geographic, Star China Movie, and Star Movie. Disney animation studio, Pixar, laid off 75 staff members, including directors and producers, citing the box office flop of Lightyear.

Disney Korea refrained from commenting on the matter.

Source (1)

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