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Korean mobile ad battle heats up

News, 09 September 2015

SEOUL: Korean internet firms are increasingly focused on mobile and on defending their position there from the intrusions of global firms such as YouTube, which is set to launch its Google Preferred ad product there next month.

Naver and Daum Kakaom, the local market leaders, "are waging an all-out mobile war with each other", according to Business Korea, with the battlefield ranging across messenger apps, social network services, financial technology and payment services.

The two are also reported to be seeking strategic relationships with broadcasting companies in order to more effectively compete in the fast-growing area of online video.

An executive at a local mobile SNS provider observed that unlimited data plans were now available for between 50,000 and 60,000 won a month; "watching videos via mobile devices does not impose a big burden for users," he said.

The mobile video ad market will grow in tandem, and from October 1, YouTube is to make available an ad product targeted at local YouTube channels ranked within the top 5%. Shortly afterwards, Naver is expected to unveil an open-source video platform called Play League.

Daum Kakao has already launched Kakao TV, which has attracted almost 40m subscribers and in which it is possible to watch video content while chatting with acquaintances on KakaoTalk – something likely to appeal to sports fans, for example.

KakaoTV also scored a hit with a programme in which celebrities and professionals from different fields made their own broadcasts and KakaoTalk users were able to communicate with them in real time.

Business Korea also highlighted the likely impact of multi-channel networks (MCNs) which are emerging to help individuals create videos and forge partnerships with advertisers.

"With the appearance of MCNs, a keyword for this year, I think that ad services using video platforms will be expanded," the SNS source said.

Data sourced from Business Korea, Korea Herald; additional content by Warc staff