By Kim Boram
SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- With an increasing presence in distributing films and TV series, online streaming service providers are now expanding their horizons in broadcasting live sporting events.
Tving, the online streaming affiliate of entertainment giant CJ ENM, said earlier it has secured online broadcasting rights of the ongoing final Asian qualification round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
It livestreamed South Korea's recent qualifying matches against Iraq and Lebanon earlier this month.
The country's No. 3 streaming service platform also started live televising the Bundesliga, the German professional football league, in August. The company said it bought the exclusive rights to cover the European league until the 2024-2025 season.
In June, Tving offered live coverage of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship.
Coupang Play, a video streaming service run by local e-commerce giant Coupang, is offering an exclusive online sportscast of the U.S. National Football League and the Ligue 1, France's professional football league.
It also gives its subscribers access to live events, including some of the English Premier League football and the Spanish football league.
Moreover, Major League Baseball games are available only on SPOTV NOW in South Korea, a streaming service platform run by local cable sports channel SPOTV.
Insiders said the stiff competition in South Korea's already saturated video streaming market has led local service providers to spend more on sports rights in a way that boosts subscriber numbers.
Market leader Netflix had 7.9 million monthly active users in the country as of June, followed by Wavve with 3.88 million and Tving with 3.34 million.
The industry landscape is expected to face a shake-up in November when Disney+, the flagship streaming service of Walt Disney Co., lands in South Korea.