Films on epidemic disease go viral on OTT platforms in Korea

By Shim Woo-hyun
  • Published : Feb 4, 2020 - 12:55
  • Updated : Feb 4, 2020 - 13:04

A scene from 2011 film "Contagion" (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

More people are using OTT services amid mounting fears over the month-old coronavirus epidemic, according to data collected by local over-the-top streaming service operators. Disaster films are especially popular, the data showed.

According to data collected by Watcha, the number of viewers using its OTT service Watcha Play peaked Jan. 27-31. The total number of minutes that viewers spent on the platform reached its highest point Jan. 27 and remained at similar levels throughout that time frame. The figure on Jan. 28 was 14.1 percent higher when compared to a week earlier.

Disaster films dealing with viral outbreaks are the most popular kind of content. The film “Contagion,” in particular, has seen a dramatic increase in viewership recently.

“Contagion” is a 2011 film that deals with a pandemic disease, directed by Steven Soderbergh. On Jan. 22, “Contagion” was ranked 58th on Watcha Play’s most watched film list but leaped to fourth place Jan. 25. On Jan 28, the film climbed to the top position and was still there as of Tuesday.

“Contagion” also ranked first on the most viewed list of Wavve, a local OTT platform run by SK Telecom. Since Jan. 27, it has remained at No. 1, outshining newer releases.

On Wavve, time spent watching disaster films increased by 403 percent from Jan. 16-28, while the number of people watching the genre increased by 304 percent.

On KT’s OTT platform Seezn, the number of views for “Contagion” increased 545 times compared with the average between October and December last year. Views of the 2013 Korean disaster film “Flu” marked a 30-fold increase, Seezn’s data showed.

By Shim Woo-hyun (