North Korea Launches Netflix Knockoff – With Five Channels

The most oppressive, least wired country in the world has now come up with its own version of Netflix. According to NK News, North Korea has rolled out a Netflix style video-on-demand service called ‘Manbang’, which means ‘everywhere’ or ‘every direction’.

It’s no surprise that North Koreans who can afford it prefer watching banned South Korean dramas.

The service will offer a whopping FIVE different channels, including documentary films on the country’s leaders as well as educational programming to learn Russian and English languages.


The installation process is simple, state media showed.

Installation process Photo from Korean Central Television (KCTV)

Installation process (Photo from KCTV)

“Firstly, connect a phone line to the high-speed modem, and then connect a cable box to the national network,” KCTV said. “(Then) connect a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port of a cable box to the television, plug in and turn on. That’s all.”

NK News reports that however small, it’s still big for the walled off state:


‘Manbang’ represents a stunning development in domestic North Korean television technology, considering the highly limited availability of internet in the country.

The number of secure internet servers per million people in the DPRK was rated as zero in 2015, according to statistics from the World Bank and Netcraft. The world’s average is 209, with data showing South Korea to have 2,320 secure servers per million people.

Foreign Policy reports North Korean television shows “typically depict moral lessons meant to reinforce faith in the government.”

[su_quote]North Korean television shows typically depict moral lessons meant to reinforce faith in the government. When characters experience failure or suffering, for example, a common trope is for them to suddenly regain morale by remembering their endless devotion to the party. Unsurprisingly, those who can afford it prefer watching banned South Korean dramas.[/su_quote]

However, A lot of the demand for “Manbang” says KCTV, is kids constantly asking to watch things over and over again.

“Children tended to pester to show new interesting videos again after their release, but we had difficulty in dealing with it,” Kim Geun Hee, a teacher at Sariwon orphanage said in the KCTV report. “However, we are happy since we are now able to show films to them again, and children enjoy it”.



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