Everyone but South Koreans Can Watch South Korean TV on YouTube

MBC's Notice on Their Video Contents on Youtube,

MBC's notice to Korean users on their video content hosted on YouTube.

South Korea's major TV networks have decided to block Internet users in the country from watching their content on YouTube and migrate to other online video platforms reportedly to increase their share of advertising profits.

The decision has incensed many Koreans, especially because the networks will continue to offer their content on YouTube to international users. 

Beginning the first week of December, several popular broadcast and cable networks, including MBC, SBS, tvN and JTBC, began preventing users with Korean IP addresses from seeing their videos on YouTube. Several media outlets reported that the motive behind the move was money: YouTube gives the networks a relatively small share of ad profits (around 55 percent, while some have claimed 40 percent), while Korean portal sites such as Naver and Daum Kakao have reached a deal with the networks to give them around 90 percent. Back in June, seven Korean broadcasters, after forming an alliance, negotiated with YouTube in an attempt to boost their share of the money, but failed to reach a consensus.

Koreans have flooded various social media sites with criticism about networks’ decision, calling it irrational, short-sighted and discriminatory against their own audiences. Many complained that local video platforms don't run as smoothly as YouTube and force users to install extra software that could make their computers vulnerable to future hacking attacks (Read Global Voices previous coverage, “Korean users’ feud with Active X“).

As a [Korean] user who enjoys watching videos on YouTube, Korean TV networks’ decision to halt YouTube service only in Korea, while allowing foreign users to watch their content, is truly annoying. It is a form of reverse discrimination against Korean viewers. They will be using Naver from now on, but Naver's video service runs slow and its video definition irritates me. Moreover, that one is plastered with Active X and so many commercials. It is the worst decision that the networks have ever made.

After searching for an answer as to why those networks have stopped YouTube service [for Koreans], I found out that TV networks get relatively low ad profits on YouTube. These crazy people, yet still caring about international audiences have decided to end service only in Korea. 

I am not saying that YouTube or Google is the answer to all problems, but the networks’ decision to end YouTube service is a true regression. If they came up with their own video platform to play their content, I would have understood. Furthermore, this decision is totally not in line with their previous actions; sometimes they voluntarily uploaded their archival videos and actively used YouTube. [editor's note: stations often upload almost full-length episodes of their popular TV series] 

I used a proxy and went around the block [to watch content on YouTube in Korea], but it is just so painfully slow. In the past, I have used proxy, but that time was to watch foreign content, not local Korean content. This situation is totally ridiculous.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.