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South Korea's Watcha Enters Japanese Market, Offering Personalized Content Recommendations

Source: Watcha

South Korea-based content recommendation and subscription video-on-demand (VOD) service Watcha is set to launch in Japan on September 16, 2020.

Like Netflix, the platform will offer two types of plans, Basic and Premium, at JPY 790 and JPY 1,200 per month, respectively.

Watcha aims to differentiate itself by providing customized movie content recommendations for Japanese users.

The company launched Watchapedia in 2015 and has since collected 28 million review data points, enabling accurate and personalized content recommendations.

During the closed beta test period from August 3 to August 23, Watcha received 3,000 applicants for 500 closed beta tester spots, and 45,000 Japanese users pre-registered for the service before the official launch.

According to research from GEM Partners, the over-the-top media market in Japan is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.3% through 2024, reaching an estimated market size of JPY 438.9 billion (USD 4.2 billion) in 2024.

Watcha faces competition from global players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, as well as local players such as U-Next and D-TV.

Watcha launched its service in 2011, with an estimated 5.7 million subscribers as of June 2019. Watcha's subscription retention rate is around 70%, significantly higher than its competitors in the South Korean market, which have retention rates between 35% and 40%.

In addition, the platform has collected 550 million rating data points from its users, far exceeding CJ CGV's 23 million and Naver's 11 million rating data points.

Watcha's estimated revenue for 2019 is KRW 22.7 billion (USD 19 million), with 800 million VOD content and 5.7 million downloads from users.