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Warner Bros.’ Asian Drama Hub DramaFever To Shut Down Immediately

(Source: forbes.com)

Nearly a decade after pioneering international television streaming in the U.S., DramaFever will be shutting down immediately according to parent company Warner Brothers.

“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,” the company said in an emailed statement after days of silence on DramaFever’s social media platforms. “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.”

The announcement of the New York City-based site’s closing followed a notice appearing on currently-airing DramaFever shows over the past few days, through which the platform stated that, “New episodes have been postponed until a later date,” and thanked subscribers for their patience. The site’s social media platforms have been inundated by comments asking for clarification without response, and no social posts have been made on the site’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram since Oct. 14. DramaFever’s YouTube channel with 4.29 million subscribers has been wiped of all content.  

Founded in 2009 and acquired by Warner Bros. in 2016 from Japan’s SoftBank Group, DramaFever is a popular streaming platform for non-American television, particularly popularized for its access to Korean television dramas (K-Dramas). Along with growing to not only license but co-produce foreign shows, including Korean shows like 2013’s The Heirs and 2014’s Naeil’s Cantabile, the service expanded earlier in 2018 to become the home of several past seasons of The Bachelorette.

One of the highest-profile streaming sites oriented around Asian dramas, DramaFever has faced competition in recent years from competitors including Viki, Netflix, and Hulu. A recent report by Variety of an upcoming, direct-to-consumer (D2C) streaming service from AT&T’s WarnerMedia cited AT&T saying that it would be, “Consolidating resources from sub-scale D2C efforts,” foreshadowing changes to DramaFever and several other Warner subsidiary services.  

DramaFever provided access to its international, typically subtitled content, both for free and through an ad-free premium option that started at $4.16 per month for an annual contract. According to a company infographic, the site featured around 15,000 episodes from 15 countries and reached an estimated 20 million viewers. 

Update: According to an update from Warner Bros., “All current subscribers will be refunded.”

More Info: forbes.com

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