What does the Korean Youtube block mean for international kpop fans?

For international fans? – nothing right now… but the future of our content is at risk.

For Korean fans? – It means the seven main broadcasting networks in Korea – including Mnet, MBC, SBS and tvN – will be blocking their content from domestic access, with MBC and SBS already starting to block content from the start of December.

The decision comes from the failure to come to an agreement between the Korean networks and international powerhouse, Google. The networks were promised a share of the profit from uploads, which by now, judging by the growth of youtube as a world platform, has become increasingly unfair.

With the networks joining together with CJ E&M Corp, the leading pay-channel provider, to go against youtube, their voice was still not heard – and Google refused to back down from their original offer. This has lead to the networks moving more towards Daum and Naver, the two most popular search engines, to share their content for the domestic audience.

But what’s important to see is the fact that these companies make up 52% of the industry (given their combined market share) and thus a ‘majority’ has moved away from Google, and some ways, moved away from the international audience.

If we look at a particular case – SBS –  we can see how they are struggling to find advertising revenue. Even with full rights to the World Cup broadcasts in the summer their revenue fell almost $9 million USD. With a trend of decline since 2010, they needed to find new ventures for advertising or what they are doing now – cutting their losses on existing platforms.

The message some recently uploaded SBS videos contain.

Despite moving to Daum and Naver, which have a substantially lower market share and spread, they have offered the networks a remarkably higher share (90%) of all advertising profits. Too good to turn down.

In this war between content creators and content providers, its the content consumers who are the most affected.

Now we have to think about what the future could hold for us international fans who rely heavily on global platforms like youtube for our content.

What could the next step be for these networks? Blocking content globally? Or phasing out content to particular parts of the world?

(I’m still irked at DramaFever’s lack of British access).

Would you pay for a netflix-style platform in which all your korean shows, dramas and performances are readily available? Imagine a DF type platform just to watch your bias’ debut on music bank! Netizen-flix?

Thank goodness for all the subbing teams, content sharers, fancammers, vloggers and uploaders who keep us entertained with content we are desperate to see. I hope the platform will always cater to the global market and a worldwide fanbase.

Thanks to the Korean Herald and Yonhap News for facts and figures.

23-year-old reporter from the UK. Onehallyu Mod.

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