With little fanfare, Warner Brothers has announced it is shutting down its Korean drama streaming service, Dramafever, effective immediately.
Founded in 2009, Dramafever was purchased in 2016 by Warner Brothers from the Japanese corporation, SoftBank Group.
“Today, Warner Bros. Digital Networks will be closing its DramaFever OTT service due to business reasons and in light of the rapidly changing marketplace for K-drama content, a staple of the service’s programming,” Warner Brothers said in a statement. “Warner Bros. Digital Labs, which encompasses more than two-thirds of the DramaFever workforce, will continue operating, serving as the tech engine behind many of WBDN’s operations.”
An unnamed source speaking with Variety, said that the decision was made in large part due to the rising cost of licensing fees for K-dramas. Shows that used to go for $800,000 a season had grown to well past $1 million per season.
This closure certainly opens up some opportunities for other services. Viki has had some dramas for a while now, and Netflix has been dipping its toe in as well. Dramafever had many shows exclusively, and this should now free them up for new licenses, so don’t be surprised to see some services expand their selections rapidly.