Netflix Underpays South Korean Actors – LA Times Article Reveals


An LA Times article has revealed that Netflix underpays South Korean actors despite their contributions to it’s success.

Hollywood is now grappling with the impact of the SAG-AFTRA strike, which is still making headlines worldwide. The strike has caused actors to halt ongoing film productions. And studios to push backward the release dates for several completed films. Actors have refused to return to work or promote their movies unless studios accept their requests.While the SAG-AFTRA strike in Hollywood continues. A similar situation appears to be developing in South Korea. With several person’s alleging that Netflix underpays South Korean actors.

According to a LA Times investigation. Netflix low pay and refusal to pay residuals is causing dissatisfaction among South Korean performers. Despite receiving big blockbusters from the South Korean film industry, such as The Glory and Squid Game. This is surprising, as South Korea is crucial to Netflix’s content creation pillars. Netflix’s most-watched show is Squid Game, a Korean show. It is also the most financially successful, having generated $1 billion for the company.

Earlier this year, the company announced a significant expansion in its Korean slate for 2023. However, local production companies are not evenly distributing the funds Netflix is pouring into its South Korean productions. Song Chang-gon, president of the Korea Broadcasting Actors Union, revealed to the Los Angeles Times that Netflix does not pay any residuals to South Korean actors. In the article, Song Chang-gon said, “The problem is that Netflix’s big production budgets aren’t evenly distributed. Most of this money goes to the star actors or screenwriters. For most supporting actors, wages have stagnated or effectively decreased.”

“Shoots for Netflix originals, especially genres like zombies or creature features, are far more labor-intensive. Actors are still expected to show up for however many shots it takes to film one episode without enough additional compensation.” He added.Song believes that Korean actors have much in common with their sister unions worldwide, including SAG-AFTRA. He believes that It would be helpful for similar organizations representing actors worldwide to engage with one another to build a sense of solidarity.

A still from Netflix’s global sensation Squid game

On its part, Netflix shared a statement with the LA Times. “We ensure supporting actors are compensated at or above local wage standards, and we work closely with our production partners to ensure all parties are committed to the fair compensation and treatment of actors.” The company further specified that according to South Korean laws and regulations, it is a streaming service, not a network or broadcaster. Therefore it is not responsible for paying residuals to writers, actors, or production workers.

The situation is still developing. But perhaps both parties will reach an agreement before the South Korean actors go on strike like their Hollywood counterparts.


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