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Video apps, producers benefit from Korean wave

Nov 01,2018
Amazer is an interactive K-pop video app where users upload videos of themselves dancing or lip syncing to K-pop music. [AMAZER]
Korean video service providers are finding success abroad on the back of global interest in Korean culture and advanced technology.

The Korean Wave, or Hallyu, is lending a big helping hand to video creators looking for fans outside Korea.

With 300 million video views every month, food content producer Cookat is one of Korea’s leading video businesses.

Cookat has uploaded food and cooking videos since 2014 through its “What to Eat Today?” and “Cookat” channels on social media sites like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

It mostly released cooking videos of common dishes like fried chicken and bibimbap. Each clip generally lasts about a minute.

“We followed the strategy of producing high-quality videos of food that will appeal to teens and young adults across the world,” said Cookat CEO Lee Mun-ju.

“I think Southeast Asians’ interest in Korean food also fueled Cookat’s popularity,” he added.

Cookat recently launched Cookat Japan, Cookat Hong Kong and Cookat Vietnam, through which it produces local food videos to attract more fans in the region.

Amazer is a video platform app that’s hoping to cash in on the popularity of K-pop.

The app allows users to upload 15-to-20-second-long videos of them dancing or lip syncing to K-pop songs. They can rise to in-app fame by doing well in “battles,” where other users have to choose between two videos on a split-screen display and “swipe right” to vote their favorite.

Nine out of 10 Amazer users are teens overseas, including from North America and European countries like Germany and Poland.

Other Korean video platform providers are using technology to break down language barriers and access international users.

Domestic start-up Hyperconnect launched Azar, a chat app that connects complete strangers across the globe through video calls, in late 2013.

Azar’s in-built, Google Translate-based translation feature helps users who don’t understand each other’s language communicate through real-time, voice-to-text translation technology.

Azar has over 200 million downloads across 230 countries and processes over 60 million video calls every day. Hyperconnect recorded 46.4 billion won ($40.75 million) in sales just in the first half of this year, making it one of the highest-grossing non-gaming apps on Google Play. Last year, it recorded 62.4 billion won in annual revenue.

Sales come from in-app “gem” purchases that users need to select the gender or country of the people they want to meet. Some 90 percent of Azar’s sales are made overseas.

AmazeVR is a popular virtual reality (VR) video content provider founded by Korean entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, including former Kakao developers. The company hosts and produces interactive VR videos and movies for owners of VR headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR and Oculus devices. Over 100,000 users have downloaded AmazeVR’s Android mobile app, with many of them hailing from the United States, where more people own VR equipment.

“I expect Korean video platforms to gain more popularity worldwide as language barriers crumble and Koreans continue to produce creative content powered by highly advanced IT technology,” said Cookat’s Lee.


BY HA SUN-YOUNG [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]


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