DramaFever will be shut down effective immediately, according to parent company Warner Bros.
“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 a statement Tuesday. “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.”
Unfortunately, the decision will also come with significant layoffs.
With the closure of DramaFever, about 20% of the unit’s 110 employees (or around 22) will be laid off.
The reason? A bit ironically, it appears to be the increasing interest in Korean dramas, which led to bigger platforms getting involved, seemed to price out DramaFever.
According to a source familiar with DramaFever, licensing costs for U.S. distribution commanded by top K-dramas have rapidly increased in recent years, bid up by larger SVOD players like Netflix and Amazon — making the genre-focused over-the-top video business unsustainable. A show that used to cost $800,000 to license for streaming now goes for around $1 million per season, according to the source.
DramaFever say they will be issuing refunds to customers as applicable.
If nothing else, this certainly ends an era of sorts as everybody from myself to my parents utilized the site to watch Korean shows at one point or another.