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South Korea Has Already Embraced Live Streaming

News and sports events are the most popular types of content

June 1, 2017

While live streaming has taken some time to gain steam on platforms like Facebook in the US, the practice is already widespread in South Korea.

According to a January 2017 Nasmedia survey of internet users in South Korea, nearly eight in 10 (79.5%) respondents had used a live streaming platform during the past year.

YouTube has established itself as South Korea’s leading live streaming platform, according to the research. Some 57.1% of respondents had used the Google video property to watch live streamed video, making it the most widely used platform.

Video Services Used for Live Streaming According to Streaming Video Viewers in South Korea, Jan 2017 (% of respondents)

The popular web portal Naver hosted the next most commonly used live streaming service, followed by Facebook and V Live, a live streaming service operated by Naver Corp. Meanwhile, messaging service KakaoTalk has not gained much traction as a live streaming platform, as it was used by just 13.2% of respondents for that purpose.

Nasmedia also found that live news was the most popular type of content watched by internet users in South Korea.

In fact, more than half (52.6%) of those polled watched news broadcasts via live stream. Live sports was the second most widely watched type of content by live stream, followed by streams of politicians, personal live streams and video of esports and other online games.

The popularity of traditional types of video content, such as news and sports, on live streaming platforms in South Korea is bad news for television. The legacy media format no longer holds a monopoly on broadcasting this type of live event.

Live streaming platforms serving the US market are also encroaching on turf that was once wholly controlled by television. Twitter, for example, announced several new live streaming content agreements at its NewFronts presentation earlier this month. The service is partnering with sports entities like the NFL and WNBA to expand its sports offerings, while also forging deals with news publishers such as Bloomberg and BuzzFeed.

By comparison, China is a market where much of the attention on widely popular live streaming platforms has focused on internet celebrities, the most popular of whom are commonly tapped by brands for content marketing purposes. But China’s traditional media market is substantially different from those in South Korea and the US, due to the dominance of state-run media enterprises there.

Rahul Chadha

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