There has been a change in the way Korean viewers consume music contents.
0.4%, 0.8% and 0.7%… These are the recent ratings of three music shows on terrestrial channels MBC (Show! Music Core), KBS (Music Bank) and SBS (Inkigayo). The highest viewer rating record in the performances of these three channels is 1.2% (Music Bank). Most broadcasts recorded ratings of less than 1%. Nevertheless, the broadcasting companies remain calm.
In fact, it is just because the way music and stages are consumed has changed depending on the age of the viewers. It can be easily seen from the fact that KBS’s “Gayo Stage”, which targets middle-aged people, has an average rating of 6~8%. Broadcasting companies have changed their strategy and are now aiming at Youtube viewers instead of TV viewers in their teens and 20s.
Vertical cam, Face Cam, etc. for each idol member… One stage can be made into dozens of videos
The three terrestrial broadcasters mentioned above are all running official K-pop channels on YouTube. Thanks to the global popularity of K-pop, their channels have gained millions of subscribers. SBS KPOP X INKIGAYO already surpassed 7.03 million subscribers, while KBS Kpop has over 7.29 million, and MBCkpop recently reached 10 million.
The main source of the content for these three broadcasting companies are their music shows. Along with the main broadcasts, additional contents, which are edited in various ways, will also be uploaded on Youtube. In particular, the young generation has a strong desire to watch only the singers they want, especially their favorite members of idol groups. Broadcasters are also focusing on producing content according to this. When a popular idol is on the stage of a music show, the broadcaster will have an in-house YouTube production studio that takes 4K and 8K high-definition fancams for each member. KBS even developed a software called “Vertigo” for this purpose. This is a program that automatically cuts and edits videos for each member even when they are filmed only once.
In addition, the “Face Cam”, which takes close-ups of only the face, and the “One-Take Cam”, shows performances as is on the stage, are provided separately, all with explosive reactions. In the case of NewJeans‘ Music Bank one-take video, it had recorded 16.34 million views within 2 months of upload. BLACKPINK Jennie‘s Inkigayo Face Cam also incurred 650,000 views within 3 weeks.
Except for the face cam, most of the videos are in a vertical format rather than horizontal. A KBS official said, “Since performance is important for Kpop, fans also want to see the dance lines of each member that are not caught on the main broadcast camera. Therefore, in the performance fancam, vertical cam is essential. “
Broadcasters are turning their eyes to YouTube revenue
Even from a broadcaster’s point of view, it is never a losing business to put so much effort into YouTube videos, due to the advertising revenue from this platform. According to the “Statistics and Program Production by KBS Revenue Source”, which was recently submitted by independent lawmaker Park Wan-joo, a member of the National Assembly’s Science, ICT, and Broadcasting Commission, KBS advertising sales fell 56.6% from 623.6 billion won in 2012 to 270.6 billion won last year. On the other hand, YouTube ad revenue of the broadcasting station rose from 200 million won in 2017 to 11.6 billion won this year, emerging as a new and prominent source of earnings.
Professor Lee Sang-ho of the Department of Digital Media at Kyungsung University explained, “Legacy media used to use YouTube videos for program promotion in the past, but now they are considering it as another channel, even creating content exclusively for YouTube and shortening long content.”
He also added, “The terrestrial broadcasters have fully accepted the trend of declining viewership ratings and chose to use other channels and means for survival.”