Korean Online TV Stars Migrate to YouTube


Have you ever watched mukbang? Mukbang, which is a Korean compound word of eating and broadcasting, refers to a broadcast in which a show host eats food in front of the camera. Although the term is now widely used even on major tv channels, the term was first coined by online broadcasters on Afreeca TV.

Daedo and Yumdaeng hosting a mukbang on YouTube [IMAGE captured from Yumdaeng YouTube channel]
Daedo and Yumdaeng hosting a mukbang on YouTube [IMAGE captured from Yum-cast’s YouTube video]

Afreeca TV, a Korean online platform for live streaming and broadcasting, has gained a huge popularity for the past few years. On Afreeca TV, independent broadcasters host their own shows, giving audiences more options to choose what to watch. Broadcasters are free to choose the subject, but some of the popular examples include video game broadcasts and the renowned mukbang.

Due to Afreeca TV’s massive popularity, YouTube didn’t shine much despite its worldwide fame – only until few days ago. Following the dispute between Afreeca TV and an influential broadcaster couple, Daedo and Yumdaeng, a number of online TV stars are migrating to YouTube to live stream their shows.

Daedo and Yumdaeng hosting a sponsored show on Afreeca TV [IMAGE in courtesy of AfreecaTV]
Daedo and Yumdaeng hosting a sponsored show on Afreeca TV [IMAGE in courtesy of AfreecaTV]
Daedo, who is also known as Buzzbean on YouTube, is a popular video game broadcaster who had hosted a channel on Afreeca TV for five years since 2011. On October 14, his channel on the platform was suspended after he and his wife – who also is a star online broadcaster – Yumdaeng, broadcasted a sponsored show without paying the usual transmission fee.

Afreeca TV asks channel hosts for transmission fees when the broadcasted episode is sponsored for a commercial purpose. The platform and channel hosts have maintained the symbiotic relationship for a long while, but many expressed disagreements to Afreeca TV’s policy, which is frequently inconstant.

The dissension between Daedo and Aftreeca TV triggered other online broadcasters to criticize Afreeca TV’s power trip openly. Following Daedo’s move to YouTube, other popular channel hosts including Yumdaeng, Benzz, and Yangdding, are starting to settle down at YouTube.

Both channel hosts and audiences seem to be satisfied with the new home. Thanks to YouTube’s accessibility and higher definition, Daedo’s first YouTube live stream reached 1.3 M viewers. Benzz, a widely-known mukbang host, could even greet international fans of his, owing to YouTube’s international accessibility.

Benzz hosting a muckbang on YouTube. His international fans are commenting on the live streaming [IMAGE captured from Benzz's YouTube broadcast]
Benzz hosting a muckbang on YouTube. His non-Korean fans left comments during the live streaming [IMAGE captured from Benzz’s YouTube broadcast]
Even though it’s a big loss to Afreeca TV, whose stock is plunging toward a big price decline, there is no reason for us to unwelcome the migration.


By Heewon Kim