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Summary:

DramaFever is quickly becoming one of the hottest video services for foreign niche content: The Korean drama service just announced some additional backing from Bertelsmann, AMC and NALA. The company wants to use the money to take on telenovelas and venture into Europe.

dramafever

DramaFever, the New York-based online video service for foreign TV dramas, is adding more high-profile backers to its latest funding round: Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, cable network AMC and Nala Investments are joining a Series B round officially announced in March, which now totals $6 million in funding. DramaFever c0-founder and CEO Seung Bak told me during a recent interview that these additional investors, announced Monday, were picked to help DramaFever with its international expansion. “We are building a global TV platform,” he said.

DramaFever is an interesting service because it proves that niches are working online. The company has been bringing Korean dramas to U.S. and Canadian audiences, offering users the option to either watch ad-supported shows for free or subscribe to an ad-free version. DramaFever has also been supplying Korean dramas to sites like Hulu.com, and it’s been successful at bringing this type of content to new audiences. Seventy-five percent of the service’s viewers are not Asian, Bak told me during an earlier interview.

The company now wants to use the new influx of money to venture both into new types of content as well as new markets. On top of Bak’s list are telenovelas, which he sees as a natural fit for the company’s focus on TV dramas. And for that type of content, NALA is a great partner: the investment company is headed by Emilio Diez Barroso, whose family owns Televisa. But Bak told me that Bollywood, K-Pop and even TV shows from Turkey have a lot of potential as well.

Geographically, Europe is one of DramaFever’s next targets, with an expansion possibly coming before the end of this year. “Today, we are a North America-focused business,” explained Bak. “As we go into Europe, Bertelsmann is a great partner.”

DramaFever originally announced its Series B round of funding for $4.5 million in March. The round led by MK Capital also includes money from YouTube co-founder Steve Chen and Google product management director Benjamin Ling. Additional new investors include Machinima co-founder and CEO Allen DeBevoise and Lowermybills.com founder and CEO Matt Coffin. And if that wasn’t enough name-dropping already, former Fox Television Entertainment Group Chairman Sandy Grushow just joined the company as an advisor as well.

Check out my previous interview with DramaFever CEO Seung Bak below:

  1. DF get their video subbed by community of devoted fans who doing the translation for free and yet DF make money on top of it? it’s total ripped off

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  2. This is a brilliant business idea. Market for cultural niches is big. Fan base is loyal and willing to pay. International content is there. They should look into Vietnamese-language programming–work in a deal w/ the popular musical variety shows (Paris by Night, etc).

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  3. Karen Liebman Cassell Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    would be really great if i could get on the site and watch my shows…i’m a premium members and have gotten an error that they are over capacity…what a ripoff!

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  4. I Love Korean Dramas! I full European mutt American no Asian in my family at all

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  5. I Love Korean Dramas! I full European mutt American no Asian in my family at all. I’ve been watching Korean Dramas for about 8 years now and have since become very interested in all things Korean. I don’t know why it seems that if your American you are expected to not like, care for, or want to watch/listen to anything not American. When I tell others that I love Korean music and dramas I always get weird looks and questions like “why do you like that are you part Korean?” Sites like Drama fever are great because they let you watch shows from places like Korea and Japan, there need to be more like them. Other sites like Netflix have about a handful of Korean Dramas from years ago and don’t seem to be interested in getting any more. Where truthfully in the last year I’ve watched more Korean content then American content (we don’t have tv since I refuse to pay for cable full of reality tv crap)

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