KCTV, the state-run media entity in North Korea, has recently introduced Manbang— which means “everywhere” or “everything”, a set-top box offering videos on demand (VOD).
VOD Services in North Korea
While Manbang does not have a content library as extensive as that of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), it still marks a significant milestone in North Korea. It currently enables users to access five TV channels and documentaries.
Users can use Manbang by connecting to state-run intranet services. KCTV boasted that there is a heightened demand for the VOD service. Howevera, most residents in North Korea do not have intranet connection in their homes.
Netflix, on the other hand, is not threatened by the entry of a new market player in the budding industry. The company even mocked about not being able to call dibs on the name, “Manbang”, first. It even changed its biography on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) into “Manbang knockoff” as part of an ongoing reference-based humor on the social media platform.
Speaking of Netflix, the company will be presenting four new non-fiction documentaries at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which is scheduled on September 8 to 18. These titles include Amanda Knox, Into the Inferno, The Ivory Game, and The White Helmets.
Lisa Nishimura, Netflix Vice President (VP) of Original Documentary Programming, explained that the company’s participation at the 2016 TIFF further emphasizes its commitment to celebrating global diversity through nonfiction storytelling.
Amanda Knox, which will premiere on Netflix on September 30, is directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, and produced by MetteHeide; Into the Inferno, which will premiere on Netflix on October 28, is produced by Spring Films and Werner Herzog Film; The Ivory Game, which will premiere on Netflix on November 4, is directed by Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani, and produced by Terra Mater Film Studios and Vulcan Productions; and The White Helmets, which will premiere on Netflix on September 16, is directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and produced by Joanna Natasegara.
Netflix has increasingly becoming known for its documentary films for quite some time now. In 2015, documentaries What Happened, Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire competed in the Oscar.
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