Warner Bros-owned streaming service DramaFever, which specialises in Korean and other Asian drama series, has been shut down.
Launched in 2009 by co-founders Seung Bak and Suk Park, the US-based service was first acquired by Japanese telco SoftBank in 2014 and then bought by Warner Bros in 2016.
In a statement, Warner Bros Digital Networks (WBDN) said: “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.”
About 20% of the platform’s 110 employees will be laid off, with the remainder continuing to work on other WBDN operations.
It’s understood that an increase in licensing costs for Korean content, with aggressive buyers such as Netflix and Amazon driving up prices, was one of the reasons for the closure.
However, following AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner and the establishment of WarnerMedia, it is also understood that the group is looking to launch a much broader SVOD streaming service, to compete with Netflix and Disney’s planned service, rather than operate niche platforms.
The DramaFever site currently has the following message:
As of October 16, DramaFever has been shut down.
For nine years, DramaFever offered a place for streaming the best Korean, Chinese and Japanese dramas on-demand, straight to your device. We appreciate the passion of our fans and it’s been a privilege to deliver you this content.
While this decision is difficult, there are a variety of business reasons that have led to this conclusion. We appreciate each and every one of our fans and their passion for the content DramaFever was able to bring into your lives.
We’d like to take this time to extend our thanks and gratitude to you, our loyal subscribers. We’ll be issuing refunds as applicable, and subscribers will receive an email from us with details in the coming days.