North Korea is one of just four territories in the world where Netflix is not accessible, but residents of the isolated communist nation need not worry, as they now can access their very own streaming service. The North Korean government has announced Manbang, which delivers government-sponsored media into the homes of Kim Jong-un’s denizens.
Manbang translates to “everywhere” or “every direction,” and it will be available in North Korean homes through a set-top box. While the western world hasn’t yet sussed out the full slate of content offered by Manbang, the service reportedly carries English and Russian language lessons, state-sanctioned TV programs, propoganda films, and updates about the Dear Leader himself. It’s apparently a big hit with the kids, according to Kim Kum-hee, a North Korean schoolteacher. “Now they are glued to the TV screen for hours a day,” she said of local children.
Information about Manbang is available in a video released by state-run broadcaster Korean Central Television. The video’s description says it will be “soon available with English subtitles,” but until then, its content is mostly a mystery to those of us who don’t speak a word of the local tongue.
Since North Korea is one of the few territories exempt from Netflix’s international push, it would be understandable if our own streaming video on-demand leader saw Manbang as a challenger of sorts. Instead, Netflix has responded with levity by changing its Twitter description to read “Manbang knockoff.” “We are bummed we didn’t think of that name first,” a company representative jokingly told Business Insider.