Netflix and Sony Sign Four-Year Streaming Deal

In another sign of Netflix’s growing dominance, Sony Pictures Entertainment has signed a five-year deal that will give the streaming giant the exclusive U.S. rights to Sony’s films once they leave theaters and premium video-on-demand services.

The deal, which begins with the studio’s 2022 releases, builds on Netflix’s existing partnership with Sony Pictures Animation and replaces the agreement Sony, one of the few major studios without its own streaming service, has had with Starz Entertainment since 2005.

That means that upcoming films like “Morbius,” which features Jared Leto playing the Marvel vampire, and “Uncharted,” starring Tom Holland in an adaptation of a Playstation game, will become available on Netflix after they complete their theatrical and on-demand runs. As part of the deal, Sony will make two to three direct-to-streaming movies a year for Netflix, expanding Sony’s slate and giving Netflix exclusive films for its service.

“This not only allows us to bring Sony’s impressive slate of beloved film franchises and new I.P. to Netflix in the U.S., but it also establishes a new source of first-run films for Netflix movie lovers worldwide,” Netflix’s head of global films, Scott Stuber, said in a statement on Thursday.

Sony emphasized that the arrangement would not alter its theatrical strategy. Before the pandemic, the studio released 15 to 20 films a year in theaters, a plan it intends to resume now that theaters are reopening. Films made for Netflix will be in addition to the theatrical releases, it said.

With the pandemic shutting down movie theaters for much of last year, Sony Pictures, like most studios, pushed many of its films into 2021. It also sold a handful to streaming services, including “Greyhound” with Tom Hanks to Apple and the upcoming animated comedy “The Mitchells vs The Machines,” from the creators of Sony’s Oscar-winning film “Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse,” to Netflix.

(An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Sony signed a four-year deal.)

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The Best Movies and TV Shows New to Netflix, Amazon and Stan in Australia in April

Every month, streaming services in Australia add a new batch of movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for April.

APRIL 1

Based on the Times columnist Emily Spivack’s book of the same name, the docu-series “Worn Stories” features short vignettes about what people wear and why. The show’s crew has assembled slice-of-life footage and thoughtful comments from a wide variety of people, who talk about how clothing — or the lack thereof, in the case of one segment about nudism — connects them to history, to their families, and to the communities they love. “Worn Stories” is comforting TV, designed to leave viewers feeling more optimistic about humanity.

APRIL 2

The “Stranger Things” actor Caleb McLaughlin plays a troubled teen named Cole in this coming-of-age drama, set in a Philadelphia neighborhood where the predominately Black residents defy the local authorities by maintaining a stable of horses. Idris Elba plays Cole’s father Harp, who tries to steer him away from the local drug trade by teaching him to cherish the responsibility of caring for a large animal. Based on a Greg Neri novel, “Concrete Cowboy” is an earnest and often lyrical look at an unusual urban subculture.

In the mid-1970s, the con man Charles Sobhraj embarked on a crime spree across eastern Asia, at first swindling and then murdering a succession of tourists, with the help of a handful of loyal followers. Tahar Rahim plays Sobhraj in the British crime drama “The Serpent.” The show features a timeline-hopping structure, meant to compare and contrast the killer’s rampage with the work of the Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle), who investigated the deaths of a young couple from his country. This eight-part mini-series is both a character sketch and a portrait of a wild and sometimes dangerous decade.

APRIL 23

Fans of big, sweeping Netflix fantasy series — like “The Witcher” and “The Umbrella Academy” — are the ideal audience for “Shadow and Bone.” This adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s popular series of supernatural adventure novels is set in a world where unstoppable giant monsters terrorize a society governed by a rigid military and unscrupulous outlaws. Jessie Mei Li plays Alina Starkov, an ordinary soldier who surprises her comrades by exhibiting extraordinary superpowers — perhaps strong enough to change their lives.

APRIL 29

In this animated action-adventure series, LaKeith Stanfield voices the title character, very loosely based on the historical records of an African-born samurai who fought in 16th century Japan. Created by the writer/producer LaSean Thomas (who previously worked on “Black Dynamite” and “Cannon Busters”), “Yasuke” follows this masterless swordsman as he reluctantly agrees to escort a superpowered girl on a dangerous quest. The story jumps back in forth in time, showing how Yasuke fights for his own nobility after a lifetime of bad breaks.

Also arriving: “Prank Encounters” Season 2 (April 1), “Just Say Yes” (April 2), “Madame Claude” (April 2), “Family Reunion” Season 3 (April 5), “Snabba Cash” Season 1 (April 7), “This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist” (April 7), “The Wedding Coach” Season 1 (April 7), “The Way of the Househusband” Season 1 (April 8), “Night in Paradise” (April 9), “Thunder Force” (April 9), “My Love: Six Stories of True Love” (April 13), “Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!” (April 14), “Law School” (April 14), “Love and Monsters” (April 14), “The Soul” (April 14), “Arlo the Alligator Boy” (April 16), “Fast & Furious: Spy Racers” Season 4 (April 16), “Into the Beat” (April 16), “Ride or Die” (April 16), “Zero” Season 1 (April 21), “Stowaway” (April 22), “Fatima” (April 27), “Sexify” (April 28), “And Tomorrow the Entire World” (April 30), “The Innocent” (April 30), “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” (April 30), “Things Heard and Seen” (April 30).

APRIL 1

The terrific comic actress Cristin Milioti takes the lead in this offbeat science-fiction dramedy, based on an Alissa Nutting novel. Milioti plays Hazel, who gets fed up with her controlling tech billionaire husband Byron (Billy Magnussen) and flees to the middle of nowhere to spend time with her relatively low-maintenance dad (Ray Romano). Unfortunately, Hazel soon finds she can’t flee modernity — not with her father’s synthetic girlfriend taking up space around the house, and not with Byron’s cutting-edge surveillance equipment tracking her every move and mood.

APRIL 8

The American version of the Australian series “No Activity” features a new approach for its fourth season, necessitated by the pandemic. The show is still mostly about lawmen dealing with the tedium of waiting for something to happen while investigating cases, but the format has now switched from live action to animation — which also allows for an all-star team of guest stars, including Kevin Bacon, Elle Fanning, Will Forte and D’Arcy Carden. Patrick Brammall (who cocreated the original show with the writer-director Trent O’Donnell) returns as a cop who dreams of tackling major crimes but who keeps getting assigned much duller duties.

APRIL 16

The seventh season is the last for this beloved sitcom, created by the “Sex and the City” producer Darren Star. “Younger” started out as a shrewd and cynical take on the modern New York publishing business, with Sutton Foster playing a middle-aged divorcee pretending to be a hip 20-something in order to get a job. But over the course of its run, the series has dealt with more than just the generation gap, as Star and his team have explored the fragile state of modern media. Throughout, the heroine’s big lie has remained the main hook, and the foundation for the cliffhanger setting up this final run.

APRIL 19

One of 2020s most entertaining and emotionally engaging new comedies returns for a second season. Josh Thomas plays Nicholas, a formerly carefree Australian now saddled with the guardianship of his two American half sisters: the high-functioning autistic savant Matilda (Kayla Cromer) and the social misfit Genevieve (Maeve Press). While the show is mostly about the girls — both lovable characters, wonderfully played — it’s also about how Nicholas struggles with whether he should be more of a “dad” to these emotionally fragile teens, as they navigate upper middle-class Los Angeles.

APRIL 20

The first season of this period crime drama introduced Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whitaker), an aging crime boss trying to reestablish his dominance in early 1960s New York after a decade in prison. The initial ten episodes covered the rapid changes in politics and pop culture, in an era when African-Americans were wielding power more publicly — even in the drug trade. Season two will add even more real-life (and fictional) gangsters, activists and celebrities, and should further the show’s reputation as one of TV’s best-acted and most ambitious crime dramas.

APRIL 23

The latest project for the writer-producer Michael Schur — one of the creators who brought “Parks and Recreation” and “The Good Place” to the small screen — is a sitcom about the complex and sometimes combative relationship between the residents of a Native American reservation and a nearby community in upstate New York. Ed Helms (another of the show’s creators) stars as the descendant of a local historical figure. The “Rutherford Falls” head writer Sierra Teller Ornelas leads a staff that is primarily made up of Indigenous people, lending authenticity — as well as some wryly self-aware humor — to these stories of small town life.

APRIL 24

Based on Jimmy Barnes’ frank memoir, this documentary tells the story of how the Scottish-born singer-songwriter overcame a rough childhood to become one of the most popular musicians in Australia. The film isn’t a comprehensive look at Barnes or his band Cold Chisel. Instead the director Mark Joffe lets his subject talk at length about his formative years, while cutting occasionally to some new performance footage in an intimate setting, in which Barnes strips his music — and his life — down to its soulful core.

APRIL 25

Kate Winslet won Best Actress at the AACTA Awards — and her co-stars Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving won Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor — for this darkly comic melodrama, about a talented tailor who returns to her inhospitable hometown with vengeance on her mind. Winslet plays the title character, who was driven away by her neighbors as a little girl because of a crime she’s pretty sure she didn’t commit. Directed and co-written by Jocelyn Moorhouse (adapting a Rosalie Ham novel), “The Dressmaker” is stylish, dynamic and shockingly — and wonderfully — dark in places.

Also arriving: “Cheat” Season 1 (April 1), “Dinner with Friends” (April 1), “I Used to Go Here” (April 1), “Jiu Jitsu” (April 1), “Recoil” (April 1), “Tyson” (April 1), “The Capture” Season 1 (April 2), “The Moodys” Season 2 (April 2), “Pitch Perfect” (April 7), “Pitch Perfect 2” (April 7), “Home Economics” Season 1 (April 14), “Grow” (April 8), “Reservoir Dogs” (April 10), “Van Der Walk” Season 1 (April 16), “Confronting a Serial Killer” (April 18), “Baby Done” (April 20), “Gold Diggers” (April 22), “Anzacs” Season 1 (April 23).

APRIL 9

“The Chi” creator Lena Waithe is one of the producers of this socially conscious horror anthology, from the mind of the writer Little Marvin. In season one — subtitled “Covenant” — Deborah Ayorinde and Ashley Thomas play the Emorys, a pair of married Black parents from North Carolina who move to a white middle-class neighborhood in Los Angeles in the early 1950s. Alison Pill plays the block’s bigoted tastemaker, who persuades her girlfriends and their husbands to make the Emorys feel unwelcome. The story eventually takes a turn toward the supernatural, although it’s plenty terrifying when it’s just about discrimination.

Also arriving: “Frank of Ireland” (April 16), “Without Remorse” (April 30).

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With Fewer Ads on Streaming, Brands Make More Movies

When the N.B.A. shut down its season last year because of the pandemic, one of the first phone calls Chris Paul made was to the Hollywood producer Brian Grazer. Mr. Paul, then a point guard with the Oklahoma Thunder, knew he wanted to chronicle what was going on, and he wanted Mr. Grazer’s help.

“The idea was, basically, film everything that had taken place in that game that night and what was going to come of it,” Mr. Paul said. “We had no clue what would happen next.”

The result was “The Day Sports Stood Still,” a documentary about the shutdown, the N.B.A.’s pandemic bubble and the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement on the league. (Mr. Paul appears in the film and is an executive producer.) It is a portrait of the ways the pandemic convulsed the sports world, but also an example of how Covid-19 has upended the entertainment industry.

The film, which debuts Wednesday on HBO and HBO Max, comes from Mr. Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment and a newer entrant to Hollywood: Waffle Iron Entertainment, Nike’s production entity.

General Electric Theater” television show from 1954 through 1962.

In the past decade, branded filmmaking has only proliferated.

Patagonia funded a feature-length documentary about dams, called “DamNation,” in 2014. Pepsi backed the 2018 movie “Uncle Drew,” which showcased the basketball star Kyrie Irving recreating his septuagenarian character from a popular series of Pepsi Max commercials. The film made $42 million and marked one of the first branded entertainment campaigns to be adapted into a major motion picture. “Gay Chorus Deep South,” a documentary produced by Airbnb, debuted on the festival circuit in 2019. And Apple’s acclaimed “Ted Lasso” began its life as an NBC Sports promotion for its acquisition of the broadcast rights to the English Premier League.

Imagine Entertainment, the production company founded by Mr. Grazer and Ron Howard in 1985, formed Imagine Brands in 2018 to pair companies with filmmakers, hiring Mr. Wilkes and Marc Gilbar, the creator of the “Uncle Drew” Pepsi campaign and an executive producer on the film, to run the group. The division has produced both feature-length documentaries and narrative films with their partners, which have included Unilever, Walmart and Ford.

Imagine is also working with the consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. The company, which effectively created soap operas when it began to sponsor serial radio dramas in the 1930s to help promote its soap products, is cofinancing a feature-length film with Imagine called “Mars 2080.” It will be directed by Eliza McNitt and begin production later this year. The film, which is scheduled to be released theatrically by IMAX in 2022 before moving to a streaming service, focuses on a family resettling on Mars.

It grew out of a breakfast in New York in 2019, where Mr. Wilkes, Mr. Howard and Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer, discussed technology in the pipeline. The Imagine team later toured Procter & Gamble’s research labs in Cincinnati, seeing examples of its “home of the future” products and meeting its scientists.

Kimberly Doebereiner, the vice president of Procter & Gamble’s future of advertising division, said the company hoped to do more long-form storytelling, like “The Cost of Winning,” the four-part sports documentary its shaving brand Gillette produced. It debuted on HBO in November.

“We want to be more interesting so consumers are leaning into our experiences and we’re creating content that they want to see as opposed to messages that are annoying to them,” she said. “Finding a way to have content that is in places where ads don’t exist is definitely one of the reasons why we’re leaning into this.”

It’s all part of a deliberate shift by brands to try to integrate themselves more fully into consumers’ lives, the way companies like Apple and Amazon have, said Dipanjan Chatterjee, an analyst with Forrester. And they want to do so without commercials, which, he said, have “zero credibility” with consumers.

“If the right story has the right ingredients and it becomes worthwhile for sharing, it doesn’t come across as an intrusive bit of advertising,” Mr. Chatterjee said. “It feels much more like a natural part of our lives.”

Alessandro Uzielli, the head of Ford Motor Company’s global brand and entertainment division, first met with Imagine Brands in early 2018. He was looking for a way to augment Ford’s advertising campaign for its relaunched Bronco with a piece of entertainment that would reach a younger audience. The result was “John Bronco,” a 37-minute long mockumentary directed by Jake Szymanski (“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”) and starring Walton Goggins (“Justified”) as the greatest fictional pitchman of all time.

The short film earned a slot in the Tribeca Film Festival and is now streaming on Hulu. In addition to featuring guest spots from Tim Meadows, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bo Derek, it helped reintroduce the Bronco, a sport utility vehicle that the automaker pulled in the mid-1990s.

“This helped us speak to an audience that we probably weren’t going to speak to on our own,” Mr. Uzielli said.

“It was Imagine’s project, and we didn’t want to cloud their process, to try to make it feel like too much of a sales job,” he added.

Mr. Szymanski, who has directed both feature films and commercials, including ads for the Dodge Durango starring Will Ferrell’s “Anchorman” character Ron Burgundy, said Ford allowed him a great deal of creative freedom. “I think they could have tried to impose a much larger shadow on it than they did,” he said.

Now, Imagine, Mr. Szymanski and Mr. Goggins are trying to turn John Bronco into the next Ted Lasso — an effort in the early stages of development.

“It’s kind of a win-win,” Mr. Szymanski said of a possible television series based on Mr. Goggins’ character. “I don’t think Ford would have any creative control over it but to have a character named John Bronco in the world, that would be a good thing for them.”

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In the Shadow of Nollywood, Filmmakers Examine Boko Haram

And so, Ovbiagele sought to recreate the plight of Boko Haram victims the best way he knew how as someone with little intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the organization. After a community of survivors from northern Borno State relocated near his home in Lagos, he spent months gathering first-person accounts from survivors — women and girls who were piecing their lives together, he said, and making sense of their new realities as orphans, widows and victims of sexual assault. He also asked local nongovernmental organizations who were working with Boko Haram victims to properly assess the challenges faced by the survivors.

In “The Milkmaid,” the young title character, Aisha (Anthonieta Kalunta), is captured, along with her sister, Zainab (Maryam Booth), by Boko Haram insurgents who turn the women into servants — and soldiers’ wives — in a terrorist camp. Aisha is able to escape but eventually returns to the settlement to find Zainab, hardened and indoctrinated with zealous devotion, now enlisting female volunteers for suicide missions.

But creating a movie in Nollywood — the nickname for Nigeria’s thriving movie industry — is not without challenges. Certain elements of producing a full-length film — financing, endless paperwork and audience building — would be familiar to filmmakers everywhere. But making a serious drama about Islamic fanaticism — in a country where roughly half the residents are Muslim and where recent instances of religious terrorism have gained unwelcome global attention — makes such a task especially daunting. And driven to make a movie that appealed to a larger international audience accustomed to sleek, big-budget Hollywood productions, Ovbiagele reasoned that “The Milkmaid” wasn’t a Nollywood production but rather its own form of cinema in Nigeria.

The Nigerian movie business has its origins in local markets, where storytellers on limited budgets readily met the sensibilities of local viewers. Eager to generate profits and offset rampant piracy, filmmakers would quickly churn out full-length, shoddy productions.

However, the sometimes hackneyed movies served a purpose, explained Dr. Ikechukwu Obiaya, who, as the director of the Nollywood Studies Center at Pan Atlantic University in Lagos, studies movie productions. Nollywood has always been “a chronicler of social history,” he said, paraphrasing the Nigerian film scholar Jonathan Haynes. Obiaya added, “During Nollywood’s early years, often something that happened one week would be depicted in a Nollywood film available at the local market the next.” And the industry has made movies about Boko Haram. But productions like “The Milkmaid” have “shown greater creative growth in the industry as a whole and in turn, demonstrated a greater interest from the rest of the world in Nigerian stories.”

Ultimately, Ovbiagele wants to continue making films he feels passionately about and hopes the film will impart a lasting impression on viewers. “I hope audiences will leave with a deeper insight into experiences and motivations of both the victims and the perpetrators of terrorist organizations and specifically the resilience and resourcefulness of the survivors.”

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Netflix Tests a Clampdown on Password Sharing

Want to watch “The Queen’s Gambit” or “Lupin”? If you’ve been borrowing a Netflix password from a family member or friend, you may now have to pay up.

Netflix has started testing a feature that could prod users who are borrowing a password from someone outside their household to buy a subscription.

The company said the feature was being tested with a limited number of users. It may signal a broader clampdown on the common practice of sharing passwords among relatives and friends to avoid paying for the popular streaming service.

“The test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” the company said in a statement.

began to notice the feature recently when they logged onto a shared Netflix account and saw a message on their screen that read, “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”

To continue watching, these users were asked to either verify that it was their account by entering a code that was sent to them by text or email, or join with their own account to Netflix. They also had the option to complete the verification process later.

A basic Netflix subscription, which allows customers to watch on one screen at a time, costs $8.99 a month. Customers who pay more can watch on additional screens simultaneously.

Netflix declined to discuss its new feature, previously reported by The Streamable, an industry news site, in detail. But industry analysts said it might be part of an effort to enforce Netflix’s frequently overlooked terms of use, which state that its service and content “are for your personal and noncommercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.”

The test also appears to be more of a nudge to buy a subscription than an iron-fisted crackdown. For example, someone who was borrowing a password from a friend or family member could ask for the verification code that had been sent by Netflix.

said in January that it had added 8.5 million customers in the fourth quarter, for a total of 203.6 million paying subscribers by the end of 2020. The company has about 66 million customers in the United States and anticipated adding six million total subscribers in the first three months of this year.

Netflix had earlier hinted that it was looking at ways to stop password sharing. Gregory K. Peters, the company’s chief product officer, said during a call to review the company’s earnings in October 2019 that Netflix was “looking at the situation.”

“We’ll see, again, those consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that,” Mr. Peters said, adding that the company had “no big plans to announce at this point.”

Professor Smith said the company clearly loses a significant amount of revenue through people using the service but not paying for it.

two-factor authentication that is used by many social media and banking apps — makes it harder for attackers to break in.

“I’m not sure it’s a huge benefit,” Professor Cranor said, “but there is some benefit.”

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The Swag Must Go On: Hollywood’s Pandemic Oscar Campaign

Those blocks are typically brimming with voters; Paramount Pictures is there, as is Raleigh Studios, where Netflix rents production space. With most people in Los Angeles still holed up at home, however, the thoroughfare was eerily quiet last Monday at 5:30 p.m. Actual crickets were chirping at Paramount’s closed Bronson Gate, which bore a sign reading, “Per government direction, access to the studio is now restricted.”

Comical at best, absurd at worst?

“The public must be so confused,” Ms. Stone said.

None of the studios or streaming services angling for awards would comment for this article. Campaigning, while commonplace, remains a taboo subject. No film company wants to look as if it is trying to manipulate voters.

It is easy to understand where they are coming from, though.

“Like a political campaign, you have to crest at the right moment,” said Paul Hardart, director of the entertainment, media and technology program at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “You need the maximum exposure at that time. And that’s a hard thing to do. How do you become top of mind at the right time?”

So the swag must go on.

As part of its promotional effort for “Nomadland,” about an impoverished van dweller, Searchlight Pictures sent a bound copy of the screenplay to awards voters. The Hollywood press corps received “Nomadland” wine glasses, a “Nomadland” license plate, “Nomadland” keychains, a “Nomadland” T-shirt and a 5-by-2-foot “Nomadland” windshield sunshade.

To celebrate the film’s Feb. 18 virtual premiere, Searchlight teamed with local small businesses to have a “curated concessions crate” delivered to the homes of invitees. It included artisanal beef jerky, wild berry jam, oranges, pears, dried apricots, dill pickle slices, banana bread, salami (“humanely raised”) and a canister of chocolates.

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Subway Product Placement Makes It a Star of Korean TV

In an episode of the Korean television show “The K2,” which takes place in a world of fugitives and bodyguards, a man is being treated with a defibrillator when he enters into a dream state. On the fringe of death, he recalls taking a past love to a Subway restaurant and to a park for a picnic, where he gently feeds her a sandwich and soft drink with the Subway logo facing the camera.

The detail is not a narrative quirk. It is a result of South Korea’s broadcasting regulations and the aggressive use of product placement in the country’s shows by Subway, the American sandwich chain famous for its $5 foot-longs.

“People joke, ‘If I had a drink every time Subway popped up, I’d be drunk before the first half is over,’” said Jae-Ha Kim, a journalist in Chicago who reviews Korean dramas. “Everyone here’s like, ‘I never got a Subway sandwich that looked that good, with that much meat.’”

Product placement in TV shows is a reality the world over. But South Korea’s terrestrial stations are prevented from inserting commercial breaks during programming, meaning many Korean companies must be creative about getting their wares in front of viewers. As Korean dramas have become more popular with international audiences, global brands have pushed to be part of the action.

world’s largest fast-food chain by store count since its founding in 1965 in Bridgeport, Conn.

Colin Clark, the country director for Subway in South Korea, said product placements in popular dramas like “Descendants of the Sun” had a positive impact on global sales, specifically citing markets in China, Taiwan and Singapore.

“I swear to you, it was a difference between night and day — before the product placement and after the product placement — the effect it had on the customers,” said Mr. Clark, who declined to provide specific sales figures.

an Irish court ruled is not bread, and its tuna, which a lawsuit claimed is “anything but tuna.”

But on TV, pristinely clean Subway shops pop with bright colors serve as the setting for business meetings, social gossip and dates for beautiful couples. Instead of cookies and tea, elderly Korean TV characters keep freshly wrapped Subway sandwiches at the ready — you never can know when an unexpected guest will drop by and crave an Italian sub.

On the popular Korean drama “Crash Landing on You,” North Korean soldiers and a South Korean businesswoman find common ground through Subway sandwiches.

Product placement in Korean shows began in earnest in 2010, when South Korea’s stringent broadcasting laws eased restrictions on the practice in an effort to increase network revenues and promote Korean goods. In 2018, South Korea’s networks sold $114 million worth of product placement, up 15 percent from the previous year, according to Soobum Lee, a mass communication professor at Incheon National University.

Shows collect an average of about $900,000 from product placements, although 2016’s “Descendants of the Sun” sold triple that amount, Mr. Lee said. It was also criticized by some viewers for excessive product placement.

Other American companies, like Papa John’s Pizza, have used product placements in Korean dramas, but none are as ubiquitous as Subway.

first episode of “Someway” has more than 1.3 million views.

“There’s humor in the advertising we’re doing,” Subway’s Mr. Clark said. “As a brand, if you take yourself too seriously, you’re going to end up always getting into trouble.”

Subway opened its first South Korea location in 1992. Now there are more than 430 Subways in the country, its second-largest footprint in Asia behind China.

To continually appeal to its target demographic of 15- to 25-year-olds, Subway is also becoming more inventive with how it is presented. On the drama “Memories of the Alhambra,” gamers competing in an augmented reality game collected valuable swords and coins by going to Subway.

In real life, newer restaurants with digital menu boards display the chain’s appearances on shows.

Product placement “was a relatively cheap way to get us brand awareness,” said Mr. Clark, who has also overseen collaborations with the K-pop star Kang Daniel and a limited-edition Subway streetwear release with Fila. “It was something the other brands were doing, but weren’t really kind of owning that space the way Subway started doing.”

commercial breaks on terrestrial stations.

Product placement is not likely to disappear, though.

Mr. Clark said that terrestrial advertising was too expensive and that those stations didn’t reach Subway’s desired young customer base, who frequently stream episodes on their phones.

Besides, the practice of product placement has already become a plot point.

On the show “Because This Is My First Life,” the lead character dreams of becoming a television writer. When she lands a job in the industry, her assignment is to jam product placements into the scripts of popular Korean dramas.

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