Who is Leading the Korean Drama War?: Netflix vs. Apple TV+ vs. Disney+

Who is Leading the Korean Drama War?: Netflix vs. Apple TV+ vs. Disney+

If you’re a korean drama fan, then this is the best time to rejoice. In fact, should I say it is the golden age of Kdramas?

Why? Because the Korean drama battlefield is heating up, and the competition is fiercer than ever. So we’ll be expecting lots of great korean dramas and movies coming.

Netflix stunned the world with ‘Squid Game,’ Apple TV+ entered the ring with the compelling ‘Pachinko,’ and now, Disney+ made a move with the captivating ‘Moving.’ 

The question on every korean drama fan’s lips is: Who is currently dominating the Korean Drama War or who will win? 

The answer lies within these pages, as we unravel the success stories, dissect the strategies, and ultimately reveal which streaming giant is leading the charge in this epic clash of content.

We’ll also give you 10 of the best Korean dramas to watch on each of these platforms: Netflix, Disney, and Apple TV.

Before that though, let’s understand what each platform offers on a global scale

Understanding the global giants in the Korean film scene: Netflix, Apple TV+, and Disney+

Who is Leading the Korean Drama War?: Netflix vs. Apple TV+ vs. Disney+

  • Netflix: Founded in 1997, Netflix boasts an impressive reach of 222 million subscribers worldwide and houses a vast movie catalog of over 15,000 titles, attracting over 7.5 billion hours of views annually.
  • Apple TV+: Launched in 2019, Apple TV+ has secured a global reach of over 40 million subscribers and offers a curated selection of over 1,000 original movies and TV shows, garnering over 1 billion hours of views annually.
  • Disney+: Introduced in 2019, Disney+ has rapidly amassed over 220 million subscribers worldwide and boasts an expansive movie catalog spanning Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, attracting over 9.4 billion hours of views annually.

Netflix – King of Korean Dramas

Netflix korean dramas and korean movies

Netflix is the undisputed king of Korean dramas. The streaming platform has been at the forefront of the Hallyu wave, with shows like Squid Game, Crash Landing on You, and Kingdom becoming global hits. Squid Game, in particular, was a phenomenon, becoming Netflix’s most-watched original series of all time. Netflix continues to invest heavily in Korean dramas, and its library of Korean content is one of the largest in the world.

List of popular and highly rated kdramas from Netflix

Netflix is currently the leader when it comes to Korean shows, that is, when compared with global giants such as Disney, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. 

Here are some of the most popular Korean dramas on Netflix now.

  1. My Demon:
  • Genre: Romance, Fantasy
  • Protagonist: Jeong Gu-won (Song Kang), a demon on Earth for 200 years.
  • Plot: Jeong Gu-won becomes entangled with the icy heiress Do Do-hee, who mysteriously robs him of his power. To protect himself, he poses as her bodyguard, leading to unexpected emotions.
  1. The Glory:
    • Genre: Revenge, Drama
    • Protagonist: Moon Dong-eun (Song Hye-kyo), seeking revenge.
    • Plot: After enduring high school abuse, Moon Dong-eun infiltrates the lives of her former bullies in her thirties, plotting their demise in a decades-long revenge plan.
  1. D.P.:
  • Genre: Military, Drama
  • Protagonists: Private Ahn Jun-ho (Jung Hae-in), Corporal Han Ho-yeol (Koo Kyo-hwan).
  • Plot: Follows the Deserter Pursuit unit, part of South Korea’s military police, tasked with hunting down AWOL soldiers. Explores hazing, bullying, and complex military issues.
  1. All of Us Are Dead:
  • Genre: Horror, Thriller, Zombie
  • Plot: Set in a fictional city during a zombie outbreak, a group of high school students fights for survival. Combines high school romance, suspense, and ends with a major cliffhanger.
  1. Mask Girl:
  • Genre: Thriller, Suspense
  • Protagonist: Kim Mo-mi (Lee Han-byeol, Nana), leading a double life.
  • Plot: Kim Mo-mi, an office worker turned camgirl, wears a mask to hide her identity. A revealing stream leads to a series of events involving bullying, vengeance, sexual violence, and murder.
  1. Sweet Home:
  • Genre: Horror, Apocalypse, Drama
  • Protagonist: Cha Hyun-su (Song Kang).
  • Plot: Based on a popular webtoon, follows residents in an apartment complex during a monster apocalypse. Cha Hyun-su gains superpowers after a suicide attempt, leading to intricate relationships among residents.
  1. Move to Heaven:
  • Genre: Drama, Family
  • Protagonists: Han Geu-ru (Tang Jun-sang), Sang-gu (Lee Je-hoon).
  • Plot: A young man with Asperger’s syndrome takes over his father’s trauma scene cleaning company, revealing tragic stories of the deceased. Uncovers family mysteries while working with his estranged uncle.
  1. Bloodhounds:
  • Genre: Action, Crime, Brotherhood
  • Protagonists: Kim Geon-woo (Woo Do-hwan), Hong Woo-jin (Lee Sang-yi).
  • Plot: Former Marines turned boxers, they team up to take down private loan sharks after getting conned. Filled with brotherly banter and action.
  1. Celebrity:
  • Genre: Thriller, Romance
  • Protagonist: Seo A-ri (Park Gyu-young).
  • Plot: A former rich girl turned door-to-door saleswoman becomes a social media influencer, navigating through money, fame, power, love, and murder.
  1. The Fabulous:
  • Genre: Romance, Drama, Fashion
  • Protagonists: Notable actors include SHINee’s Choi Minho and Chae Soo-bin.
  • Plot: Explores the lives of friends in their late 20s in Seoul’s fashion industry, combining Fashion Week extravaganzas with steamy romances.

Apple TV+ = rising star in korean dramas

Apple TV korean dramas and korean movies

Apple TV+ is a relative newcomer to the Korean drama scene, but it has already made a big splash with its show Pachinko. Pachinko is a critically acclaimed drama based on the bestselling novel of the same name. It tells the story of a Korean family who immigrates to Japan in the early 20th century. Pachinko has been praised for its beautiful cinematography, its performances, and its moving story.

List of popular and highly rated kdramas from Apple TV+

  1. Dr. Brain:
    • Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-fi
    • Duration: 1h
    • Plot: Brain scientist Sewon becomes obsessed with syncing brains with the deceased to access memories. His life takes a tragic turn when he loses his family in a mysterious accident, prompting him to try accessing his wife’s memories to uncover the truth.
  2. Now We’re Breaking Up:
    • Genre: Romance, Drama
    • Duration: 1h
    • Plot: Explores love and breakups as Young-Eun, leading the design department, falls for freelance fashion photographer Jae-Kook. The series follows various couples dealing with relationship turmoils and insecurities.
  3. Playful Kiss:
    • Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
    • Duration: 1h 6m
    • Plot: Adaptation of a Japanese manga, the story revolves around Ha Ni, a girl in love with the popular Seung-jo. Circumstances force them to live together, leading to comedic and romantic situations.
  4. Boys Over Flowers:
    • Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
    • Duration: 1h 10m
    • Plot: Jan Di, with a strong sense of justice, enters the prestigious Shinhwa Academy after saving a boy’s life. She clashes with the F4 group leader but later becomes the object of affection for him and his friend Ji Hoo.
  5. Oh My Ghost:
    • Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
    • Duration: 1h
    • Plot: Timid Na Bong Sun, an assistant chef, gets possessed by a ghost seeking to seduce men by possessing various women. The story unfolds with a mix of romance and comedy.
  6. True Beauty:
    • Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
    • Duration: 1h 10m
    • Plot: Ju Kyung, facing bullying due to her appearance, uses her makeup skills to transform into the “goddess” of her new school. Complications arise when a classmate recognizes her true self.
  7. Strong Girl Bong-soon:
    • Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
    • Duration: 1h 7m
    • Plot: Bong-soon, a strong woman with superhuman strength, becomes a bodyguard for an eccentric businessman. The story involves a complicated love triangle as the businessman falls for her, while she likes a detective.
  8. Welcome to Waikiki:
    • Genre: Comedy, Drama
    • Duration: 1h 5m
    • Plot: Friends run a guest house called Waikiki to fund their movie-making dreams. Their lives take a comedic turn when a single mother with a baby moves in, leading to hilarious situations.
  9. Goblin:
    • Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Romance
    • Duration: 2h
    • Plot: Revolves around a mystical being, Goblin, with God-like powers seeking his fated bride for redemption. He encounters Eun Tak, a girl who may hold the key to his immortality.
  10. Flower of Evil:
    • Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Romance
    • Duration: 1h 10m
    • Plot: Hyun Su, a seemingly perfect husband and father, hides a dark past from his detective wife. The series explores the mysteries and threats connected to his concealed history.

Disney+ – growing importance in the Korean drama industry

disney+ korean movies and kdrama

Disney+ is the latest entrant into the Korean drama war. The streaming platform launched its first Korean drama, Moving, in February 2022. Moving is a coming-of-age drama about a group of high school students who are struggling to deal with the pressures of life. Moving has been praised for its realistic portrayal of teenage life.

List of popular and highly rated kdramas from Disney+

  1. Arthdal Chronicles: The Sword of Aramun 2:
    • Eunseom unifies the 30 Ago tribes, leading to a war against Tagon’s kingdom in Arthdal. The conflict intensifies as both sides aim for victory. The search for the real reincarnation of Aramun adds intrigue to the storyline. Note: Song Joong Ki and Kim Ji Won didn’t return for Season 2.
  2. Call It Love:
    • Sim Woo Joo seeks revenge after her father’s infidelity and subsequent hardships. Her plan involves targeting CEO Han Dong Jin, the son of the woman who ruined her life. However, complications arise as she unexpectedly starts falling for him.
  3. Dr. Romantic 3:
    • The hospital becomes independent, and the Doldam family faces new challenges, including medical emergencies, blossoming romances, inter-hospital politics, and a possible new antagonist. Lee Sung Kyung returns as cardiothoracic surgeon Cha Eun Jae.
  4. Family: The Unbreakable Bond:
    • NIS agent Kwon Do Hoon keeps a life-altering secret while living a double life. When his wife Kang Yura hides an explosive secret, their perfect family faces unexpected challenges.
  5. Han River Police:
    • Police sergeant Han Doo Jin and lieutenant Lee Chun Seok, a mismatched duo, patrol the Han River, facing bizarre situations. As they encounter a criminal conspiracy, they must work together to restore justice in this lighthearted crime drama.
  6. Moving:
    • The most expensive K-drama produced, Moving, follows a group of South Korean spies living peacefully until a deadly assassin threatens high-powered individuals. The series explores family ties and the challenge of embracing their super-powered past to protect their children.
  7. Soundtrack #2:
    • The second season of Soundtrack follows the story of piano tutor Do Hyeon Seo and successful CEO Ji Suho. As a rekindled romance unfolds, the series explores love, loss, and betrayal through emotional OSTs.
  8. The First Responders 2:
    • Detective Jin Ho Gae, firefighter Bong Do Jin, and paramedic Song Seol face a new criminal mastermind seeking revenge on the first responders. Dex, known for orchestrating scandals, becomes a formidable adversary.
  9. The Worst of Evil:
    • Set in 1990s Seoul, The Worst of Evil follows Jung Gi Cheol, a DJ-turned-gang leader, and police officer Park Joon Mo. Tasked with infiltrating a drug syndicate, secrets unravel as loyalties are tested.
  10. Vigilante:
    • Nam Joo Hyuk stars as Kim Jiyong, a vigilante seeking revenge for his mother’s death. Becoming a police officer, he delivers his own form of justice. However, his actions attract media attention, leading to a game of cat and mouse with detective Jo Heon.

So, who is leading the Korean drama war?

It is still too early to say definitively. Netflix is the clear leader at the moment, but Apple TV+ and Disney+ are both making strong plays for the Korean drama crown. The next few years will be crucial in determining which platform will emerge as the winner of the Korean drama war.


  1. Netflix: The Pioneer of Streaming Entertainment Netflix, the trailblazer of streaming platforms, offers a vast library of content spanning genres, from nail-biting thrillers to heartwarming dramas. With ‘Squid Game,’ Netflix solidifies its reputation for delivering groundbreaking original series that captivate audiences worldwide.
  2. Apple TV+: Where Quality Meets Innovation Apple TV+ brings a touch of sophistication to the streaming landscape, emphasizing high-quality productions with series like ‘Pachinko.’ Known for its commitment to storytelling and visual excellence, Apple TV+ is carving its niche as a platform for compelling narratives and cinematic experiences.
  3. Disney+: The Magical World of Streaming Disney+, a powerhouse of family-friendly content, has made a splash in the Korean drama scene with ‘Moving.’ Combining beloved classics with new hits, Disney+ offers a diverse range of entertainment, making it a go-to platform for viewers of all ages seeking enchanting stories and nostalgia.