SEOUL: Netflix is poking fun at North Korea’s recent foray into on-demand TV, calling itself a “Manbang knockoff” on its Twitter bio.
The tongue-in-cheek change to the Netflix US bio comes after Pyongyang proudly unveiled a video streaming service called Manbang (“Everywhere”), which was instantly described as a Netflix-style service by Western media.
The system allows viewers with some sort of Internet access to enjoy the highly-propagandized output of its four state-run TV channels at their leisure.
A program introducing the service that aired on Korean Central Television (KCTV) last week said it was available to any institute, company or household that subscribes to North Korea’s state-operated intranet.
The number of intranet subscribers in North Korea is unknown, but KCTV said “hundreds” of people had signed up to the Manbang service in Sinuiju—one of three cities where the system is being rolled out.
Set up in 2000, the intranet only allows access to selected, government-approved websites and mostly functions as a communication platform between government agencies, universities, industry and commerce.
Outside of hotels catering to foreigners, access to the full-blown internet in North Korea is for the super-elite only—a few hundred people or maybe 1,000 at most. AFP