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Warner Bros. closing Korean streaming service DramaFever

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. will shut down video-streaming service DramaFever Corp. with immediate effect, Variety reported Oct. 16, citing a company statement.

The over-the-top service specializes in Korean dramas, known as K-drama, and other Asian programming.

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 statement said.

New York-based DramaFever was reportedly purchased by Warner Bros. from Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. in 2016, and operated as a unit of Warner Bros. Digital Networks.

About 20% of its 110 employees will be laid off, according to the report.

Licensing costs for U.S. distribution of K-dramas have increased in recent years, prompted by subscription video-on-demand operators such as Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc., a source cited by Variety said.

The closing of DramaFever comes after AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said work is underway on a direct-to-consumer service that could feature programming from across HBO / Cinemax (US), Warner Bros. Pictures International and Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

AT&T recently said it is looking to launch the service in the fourth quarter of 2019.