‘Vloggers’ at forefront of rise in one-man media

By Ahn Sung-mi and Lim Jeong-yeo, The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

The Korea Herald/Asia News Network–Today, in a world where anyone can easily upload a video of themselves doing anything and everything, video blogging has become the new mode of self-expression. ��Vloggers�� �w or video bloggers, who film or live-stream their thoughts, ideas and interests, have become tremendously popular here in the past years. Some of them rack up fans just like K-pop celebrities, while others are earning significant income through broadcasting online. The genres vary, befitting the increasing influence of video content. From online game broadcasting and beauty tutorials to devouring massive amounts of food, better known in South Korea as meokbang (eating broadcast), a diverse array content quenches the entertainment thirst of users in South Korea, one of the most wired countries in the world.

With the rise of pioneering vloggers, a new breed of business has emerged in this fast-paced, smartphone-savvy society. Multichannel network businesses �w which aggregate multiple content creators under one banner and assist creators in producing, marketing, funding and copyright issues �w is the rising tide of business, like elsewhere in the world. The MCN takes the managerial role, providing vloggers the expertise in content creation and distribution, in exchange for a percentage of their advertisement revenue. This business model was made possible in 2012 when YouTube �w the largest video platform �w lowered its restrictions on its Partner Program, allowing all creators to generate advertisement revenue from their videos; they only need to apply for it. CJ E&M, South Korea’s leading entertainment and media company, was the first to jump onto the MCN bandwagon here in 2013. The conglomerate recently rebranded its 2-year-old MCN business into DIA TV, an acronym for Digital Influence & Artist TV, in an effort to bring a slew of domestic vloggers to wider global audiences. ��This business started with a perspective that content had to become a brand itself,�� said Lee Deok-jae, head of the company’s broadcasting and contents business, at the recent launch of the service. ��If we can’t earn profit beyond the domestic market, the business cannot last long and will face limitations.�� ��There are many creators with great talents who cannot advance overseas due to language barriers and other aspects,�� he said. ��We will provide solutions to the problems.�� DIA TV gives practical help to its partners, including their newly opened DIA TV Studio in Hongdae, western Seoul. The space is provided exclusively for the creators to film, edit and produce their content. The fully equipped studio even has a kitchen for those shooting cooking programs and a rest area where partners can hangout and network with other creators. As of today, DIA TV partners with 407 content creators on YouTube, including famous vloggers such as Korean Englishman. With over 700,000 subscribers, the British-native talks about unique South Korean culture through the eyes of a non-Korean. The company’s goal is set to increase the number of content creators to 2,000 by 2017. Another strong player in the video platform industry is AfreecaTV, short for Any Free Casting TV.