TRF 635 Industry Force
Distribution and Exhibition in Music Industry: The “V LIVE”
As the popularity of K-pop grows, there is an increased need for people all around the world to appreciate music live. In this circumstance, “ V LIVE” by NAVER Corp. Entertainment was born. The first version 0.0.9 was released on August 3rd, 2015 (Apple store, 2017). The app allows celebrities to broadcast live music engaging viewers all over the world. The global live video streaming platform “V LIVE” has about 575 channels now after starting with 260 channels. “V LIVE+,” “Multicam,” “V STORE,” and “V Fansubs” services add life to the app, which are backed by NAVER’s cutting-edge video technologies (V LIVE official website, 2017). It has now become one of the mainstream live music video apps of K-pop all around the world.
“V LIVE” was created by NAVER Corp. Entertainment by ex-Samsung employees. Its headquarters are located in Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. The company was set up in June 1999, focusing on services like “Online Search Portal,” and “Mobile Messenger Platform.” It has branch offices in Japan, the U.S., the U.K., China, Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand. It has 2,291 employees with income of $3,132,078,830 (NAVER Corporation, 2017).
The subsidiaries of NAVER Corp. Entertainment are Line Corporation, NAVER, and “V LIVE.” LINE is a smartphone, PC, and Mac app which allows users in 230 countries to make calls and message. In 2013, Lee Hae-jin, the chairman of NAVER, saw his stake value hover above 1 trillion KRW (US $939.4 million) on the back of its messenger service LINE. NAVER is a popular web portal in South Korea. According to “Pitchone”, NAVER handled 48% of web searches in South Korea in 2016. NAVER is the fifth most used search engine in the world, following Google search, Yahoo!, Baidu and Bing (NAVER Corporation, 2017). “V LIVE” is a live music video platform for K-pop bands and individuals. It doesn’t own songs, it is a platform that allows musicians to broadcast their music videos, concerts and daily life.
“V LIVE” Business Model
- What it does:
By using their phones, fans can follow their favorite musicians, watch their music videos, and use comments and ‘hearts’ to share thoughts and feelings with others on “V”.
Fans can express feelings to celebrities through chat messages and heart icons. Celebrities can reply to them on “V LIVE” later. Also, by following channels of celebrities and watching videos, it is a way to increase Chemi-beat. The more Chemi-beat fans get, the more benefits (“V LIVE” official website, 2017).
NAVER has the service,“V LIVE +.” The “V LIVE+” subscription is a special membership system for fans, which allows fans to enjoy premium channel. “V LIVE+” provides HD live video, tons of unreleased trials, hidden videos and private moments, special live, secret stories, and behind-the-scenes stories in download music videos (V LIVE official website, 2017). From multi-cams for each member to external cameras, fans can discover new sides to stars using the various angles available only in “V LIVE+.”
Almost all of the official music videos have seven languages translation, differing from other music distribution platforms. I had an interview with an employee in the Facebook page, in which he said when he worked for the app, he needed to communicate with translating companies and attributed task to them every day. In addition, he needed to see their performance (Interview with “V LIVE,” 2017).
2. Target Audience:
The global live video streaming platform “V LIVE’s” image has proved its potential to fuel the company’s future growth. During 2016, the number of “V LIVE” users in the world increased 1.5 times from 16,000 to 24,000 (Sensor Tower, 2017).
“Sensor Tower” is a website that analyses a company’s review, audience and revenue. From the graphic, we can clearly see the percentages of users in each country, especially Asian countries. (Other: 12%; Vietnam: 6%; Thailand: 6%; Taiwan: 4%; Singapore: 1%; Philippines: 2%; Malaysia: 2%; Indonesia: 2%; Hong Kong: 2%; South Korea: 24%; Japan: 13%; Mainland China: 18%; US: 9%) (Sensor Tower, 2017). In conclusion, users in Asia use the app more than in the U.S., and the population of Asian countries outside of Korea is more than the portion of Korea.
3. Competitors: (The graph was created by DJ Kang at Value Penguin)
From the graph, we know that Netflix takes up the service in Africa, Australia and South Asia; IQiyi occupies China, “V LIVE” is most popular in South Asia, and Showroom takes up Japan.
The online platforms in Asia that have similar functions are KITTYLIVE, SHOWROOM, IQiyi, and Pooq. KITTYLIVE (Korean) is a platform for broadcasting and watching live music streaming videos, bringing audiences closer to idols with HD video chat (Official website of KITTYLIVE, 2017). In SHOWROOM (Japan), fans can enjoy live music shows by their favorite celebrities. It contains four portions: “Today’s music pick,” “Live music,” “musical events,” and “music ranking.”(SHOWROOM official website, 2017). Pooq (Korean) provides Seamless-Streaming, On-Air VOD and Pop-Up Player (Official website of Pooq, 2017). IQiyi (China) provides live music, broadcast concerts, and music shows (Official website of IQiyi, 2017).
In western countries, there are competitors like YouTube and Netflix. Netflix and YouTube are winning in almost every country in Asia. Netflix is the top four streaming platform, and YouTube was the most downloaded video streaming app in 11 countries out of the 13 geographic regions (DJ Kang, 2017).
However, these apps are not competitive with “V LIVE,” and this is because the statistics from DJ Kang are about all of the video content by YouTube, Netflix, IQiyi, and SHOWROOM, not only the K-pop content. With regards to K-pop, “V LIVE” still has its advantages: HD videos, live music, interactive messaging for fans and celebrities, and exclusive content, like backstage music videos from each music company in Korea that are impossible to find on YouTube, Netflix and other apps. Compared to YouTube, “V LIVE” not only has music video channels that refer to a branch of areas, but also provides live music videos for the fans watching their stars in front on the “V LIVE” app in specific time period.
“V” features the hottest K-pop stars. It has an on-air lineup of BIGBANG, SMTOWN, BTS, YGFamily, iKON, Apink, WINNER, GOT7, INFINITE, BTOB, BEAST, AOA, SISTAR, CNBLUE, miss A, Girl’s Day, 2PM, JYPnation, 4minute, and VIXX (V LIVE official website, 2017), which are some of the most popular channels that connect exclusively with fans. All in all, people can find all Korean bands on “V LIVE.” And the number of the bands is still growing, from 260 music channels in 2015 to 575 music channels in 2017. “V LIVE” videos are selective: only celebrities are able to live streaming on “V”.
“V LIVE” Revenue Model
- How it makes money:
“V LIVE” is a free app, but as it is shown above, if fans want to enjoy some exclusive content, they can subscribe to “V LIVE+” inside each channel.
In order to subscribe to V+ channels, fans need to pay for the membership. For each band/channel, there are one-year memberships (V Coin: 2,200), six-month memberships (V Coin: 1,100), three-month memberships (V Coin: 600), and 30-day memberships (V Coin: 200). Each one needs different amounts of “V Coin,” the virtual currency within “V LIVE.” Furthermore, the more active fans are on “V LIVE,” the more special benefits they can get from “V LIVE+” service. To get more benefits, people need to follow channels of stars and visit every day, watch their videos over and over, and share them. Fans can purchase stickers in “V STORE” using in group chat. To conclude, “V LIVE” makes money from “V LIVE+” and “V LIVE” store (V LIVE official website, 2017).
2. Where it gets money:
By the end of Aug. 2017, it had 200,000 downloads, and earned $600,000 (Sensor Tower, 2017). Let’s see what countries or areas it got money from:
From the graph, we see the revenue from different countries and areas. (Other 10%; Thailand 4%; Taiwan 6%; Hong Kong 3%; South Korea 23%; Japan 17%; Great Britain 1%; Mainland China 24%; Australia 1%; US 11%) (Sensor Tower, 2017). Korea, China, Japan, and the U.S. are the largest parts of the revenue coming in.
1) Sensor Tower: The app profile of “V LIVE:”
2) NAVER MOBILE As of December 2016, number of daily unique visitors (27 million)
3) DJ Kang at ValuePenguin, Top Online Video Streaming Apps In Asia: Netflix And YouTube’s Absolute Dominance, Technology.
4) Line Corporation
6) NAVER Corporation
7) SHOWROOM – 配信と視聴ができるショールーム,デベロッパ：(Can be sent and the audience showroom), SHOWROOM INC.
8) SHOWROOM official website
9) Official website of KITTYLIVE
10) “V LIVE” official website
11) Official website of Pooq
12) Official website of IQiyi
13) Interview with employee in “V LIVE”, 2017