The Internet is no stranger to making stars. From the blogging community to the gaming community on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook, many young creators have found stardom via these streaming platforms. While many people who don’t have any idea find it bizarre, it’s absolutely alright to spend hours watching someone play games, dance, sing or talk about tech on the platform.
One such platform which has gathered a lot of momentum in South Korea is the Afreeca TV network. Predominantly used by teens and young adults, this app has become a phenomenon and day-to-day life in South Korea.
In shows such as “Meok Bang”, a boy named Kim attracts a huge amount of audience. There’s plenty of creators who do activities such as eating and singing while streaming live. There are more than 5000 live shows airing at any given time and among those streams, with some creators able to earn millions in a month.
What is Afreeca TV?
Afreeca TV is a peer-to-peer (P2P) streaming platform that allows users to broadcast themselves and interact with the audience on the app. Afreeca TV, though launched in 2006, has risen to prominence in recent years. So much that in 2019, the service was named as the 4th best company under ‘’Asia’s 200 Best Under a Billion” category by Forbes.
Afreeca TV started its journey as W beta service on May 11, 2005, back when it first rolled out. Later, it was renamed to Afreeca in 2006. The network was initially known to transmit TV channels and allowed users to upload their own shows and videos. A few of the key components on the network included viewing, broadcasting, live chatting, forums, and channel listing.
Users were required to install Afreeca Player so they could access the platform and back in the days, Independent broadcasters were referred to as Broadcasting Jockeys. Eight years after its launch, the Afreeca TV app finally made its way to the Android Play Store in 2013.
The Broadcasting Jockeys delivered live broadcasts and the platform allowed users to add their favorite creators on their personal playlist. Few of the leading channels in the current period draw more than 10,000 viewers at a time. Paid services such as channel relays and quick views allow independent creators to generate revenue.
How does Afreeca TV work?
Afreeca TV is quite similar to the independent broadcasting networks except it is owned by a conglomerate. It’s similar to the Like app which is quite popular in South East Asia. However, Afreeca TV, as opposed to the TV, has professional content as well. You can find diversified content on the network which follows a self-broadcasting model complemented with a chat window. As per research based on the growth of the network and shifting pattern of audience behavior on the broadcasting platform, we found six reasons which contribute to the successful functioning of this app.
1. Real-time audience influence on the broadcasts. Ability to interact with the streamers and fellow viewers.
2. Afreeca TV became a source of companionship where you’ll find yourself becoming a part of a virtual community that pretty much becomes an active part of your life.
3. Rise to fame thanks to the platform’s unique culture. Almost anybody with any type of content can board the success train if loved by the viewers.
4. Acceptance and compassion via app feature virtual gifts such as the ‘Star Balloon’, quite similar to how gold works in Reddit.
5. Diverse form of content satiating the needs of each individual user. The quality of content along with the structure ensures that there’s no redundancy on the network.
6. Chatting and interacting within the community is amazing thanks to the live cast management system.
Now that we’ve seen the reasons why Afreeca TV is a successful app, let’s understand what makes this platform so great.
Why should you stream on Afreeca TV?
Apart from the general Go Live, Watch Videos and Support streamer features, there are many reasons why you might fall in love with this platform.
Player or Radio Mode
You can access Afreeca TV not just on its dedicated player but also through the radio mode. Thus, when you’re stuck in situations where there’s a lack of internet speed, radio mode will provide you with a smooth streaming experience.
You can stream using any device and make use of both your front and back cameras. So, whether you’re on iOS or Android you enjoy maximum clarity when streaming. With diverse settings, you can jump right in via your mobile data network or Wi-Fi. In addition, there are diverse streaming quality options.
Chatting through Afreeca TV and engaging with fellow viewers is truly an amazing experience. I love to send emoticons and creative stickers when chatting with fellow streamers. What I love the most is that the service actually goes on the Standby mode when you’re facing connectivity issues and thus you can continue where you left off when the network returns.
Afreeca TV’s interface is quite intuitive. At first glance, you’d find the website to be quite minimal but effective. It doesn’t have unnecessary elements that hinder your browsing experience. You’ll become accustomed to the menus within minutes and you’ll find thousands of content materials that can keep you busy throughout the day.
I know you must be thinking as to why I’ve included this. But trust me there are many platforms out there which still feel as if they’re running prototypes. As for Afreeca TV, it looks like a finished product where you can conveniently search for events and preferred content. Not just that, you can even organize videos and live streams. Afreeca TV similar to other social media networks has the power to make your dreams come true.
As soon as you step on Afreeca TV, you’ll get a distinctive vibe. Against all the dark themed streaming services, Afreeca TV’s website seems to have that Twitch flavor in it. The blue and white combination is consistent throughout the website and looks great. Apart from that, I find the placement of menus and categories quite unique.
Afreeca TV’s header section has a search bar right before Go live and VR Player option. If you Go Live, you can broadcast yourself and with VR Player you can access videos with VR feature enabled by the uploader. Towards the right, you have Help Center along with Login and Sign up option for new users. As for the four blue boxes on the left, you have subcategories such as Videos, Radio, eSports, Games, Items, Star Balloons, Notice and Ask 1:1.
There is a categories section on the left that has Live, VOD, Favorites and Help Center options. Each of these categories has its own page along with certain subcategories. For instance, if you click on VOD, as many as ten options – Popular, Favorite User Clip, Favorite VOD, Most Recent, Most Liked, Hot Issues, Special, New Streamer, Animations, and eSports come up.
As for the main section, there are as many as 15 streams on one page on the desktop. These streams are bifurcated with headings such as Live Now, Social Hot Clips, StarCraft Hot Clips, Featured Streamers and Global Streamers.
There’s no dearth of content on Afreeca TV. You can stream 5000+ videos at any given time from any device. You’ll find television show clips, live videos, and VODs from independent creators.
From a 14-year old sensation eating every day, to a model showing her seductive dance moves, the content is filled with unique content. I would like to share a 14-year old Kim’s story with you. He’s been using the platform for 3 years and he streams every day on the network. You’ll find him eating pizza, fried chicken or other Chinese food with his family and friends. His recent episode saw him make 2 million. Known as Patoo on the network, Kim’s success story indicates Afreeca TV’s stronghold in the South Korean market.
There are around 8 million unique visitors on Afreeca TV every month. Most of the audience are teens or young adults. 40% of 12.5 million South Koreans between the age group of 10 to 30 watch shows on Afreeca TV once a month. Many teenagers upon being surveyed pointed out that the chance to interact with the broadcasters is what makes streaming on Afreeca TV unique.
Afreeca TV’s app has a clean interface. It reminds me a lot about Facebook with similar options on the top and at the bottom of your screen. It worked well on my iPhone X as well as my Google Pixel 2. I watched a couple of live videos and VODs.
Suggestions I have for Afreeca TV
Afreeca TV to me seems a pre-dominant South Korean app. Most of the streams on the network are from Korean creators and thus as an outsider, it’s quite hard for you to relate unless you want to learn about the culture.
Afreeca TV may be an app in an extremely saturated market but its major attraction is not professionally made videos but rather raw footage. Clips from talented artists or mere food lovers just looking for a company offers that pure interaction. Afreeca TV, in my opinion, is what YouTube initially claimed to be.