Naver is a South Korean online platform that launched in 1999, becoming the first web portal in Korea to develop and use its search engine. In 2021 Naver focused heavily on their live video streaming service VLive. Due to the coronavirus, there was a spike in new users coming to the platform between 2020-2022. In addition, thanks to the popularity of K-Pop and the explosion of BTS, BLACKPINK, and TWICE in the last five years, there is a very high demand for realistic and immersive viewing experiences. Especially in the era of 5G networks. VLIVE will focus on going global and becoming a global entertainment platform by the year’s end. It is often called VApp and is available online or on iOS and Android mobile devices.
VLIVE was launched in late 2015 and is one of the top live video streaming services in South Korea. In 2022, the VLIVE and V Fansubs business provided by Naver was transferred to WEVERSE as part of Naver’s plan to shift the company to a new growth phase. However, how you use VLIVE will not change; the service operator will be transferred to WEVERSE.
What is VLIVE?
VLIVE is a live video streaming service that allows Kpop groups to broadcast live videos on the internet and live chat with fans. Many of these videos are behind-the-scenes episodes that give Kpop fans exclusive access to their favorite Kpop group. In addition, VLIVE broadcasts performances, reality shows, and award shows. Streaming is available online or via iOS/Android mobile devices. So far, VLIVE has had over 200 million downloads worldwide.
Currently, 18% of users come from South Korea. China comes in second at 9% and the US at 8%. Therefore, VLIVE will be a gateway for Kpop groups to reach a global audience and allow non-Korean speaking fans worldwide to connect with their favorite Kpop idols. This is because VLIVE has an online community of fan translators who create the subtitles. Translators are ranked by the number of words they have translated. Some contests and events reward fans with V coins for writing the subtitles for the videos. This is why some videos have over 15 subtitle options.
How to sign up for VLIVE?
Making an account on VLIVE is very easy. First, just install the VLIVE app via the App Store or access VLIVE via their website. Change the language setting to your preferred language. Then you can sign up via your Facebook, Line, WeChat, Twitter, Weibo, QQ, or Naver account. It is recommended that you have one of these accounts. If not, you will need to sign in with your Gmail account. You can sign up through the website using the same process. After you sign up, you can create a username and profile.
VLIVE Going Global
Naver is Korea’s biggest web portal operator, and they will help VLIVE go global in 2022 with the help of WEVERSE. In 2020 and 2021, they saw the number of paid memberships increase compared to 2019, mainly because more people are looking for content at home during COVID-19. As their audience continues to grow, they will look to go global by first targeting Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan to start because there is a massive K-Pop following in each of those countries. Since VLIVE launched six years ago, it has grown to over 35 million visitors a month, with over 85% being non-Koreans.
VLIVE is not just a live video streaming platform; it is a kind of community where people worldwide can talk about their favorite K-Pop stars. They can even engage with the artist, who regularly engage with their fans. Their newly launched “Fanship” platform will feature live interactive streaming and big data technology. Fanship is a combination of Fan and membership. It is a place where fans can pay to connect with their favorite celebrities and influencers. Therefore VLIVE will create new value in the global entertainment market.
Expanding into Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan is a no-brainer. Not only are they crazy about K-Pop, but they all have high smartphone penetration rates.
V LIVE + 5G + VR
5G will offer new possibilities for content creation and streaming services. VLIVE will offer the most realistic and immersive viewing experiences as if users are actually in performance venues with their favorite stars. They will do this with VR by releasing a VR application. VLIVE hopes to build K-pop VR content for mass adoption. Naver has partnered with local talent agencies to provide unique content such as K-pop dance tutorials and live streaming exclusive events.
The VR infrastructure in Seoul is growing. These days it is easy to come across a VR arcade or cafe. Therefore Seoul might be ready for a whole 5G VR experience. Imagine a place where K-pop fans can see their idols up close through high-quality 3D/360 videos. For this to go mainstream, VR needs to become more personal. Once VR becomes a mass consumer phenomenon, it will make it possible for K-Pop entertainment companies to sell their content directly to the consumer.
What can you do on VLIVE?
VLIVE currently has over 1 million subscribers on Youtube. You can download the VLive app on your computer and smartphone. Once on VLIVE, you can watch videos uploaded by K Pop groups. These videos include reality shows, interviews, and behind-the-scenes videos. They even have a premium section where die-hard fans can pay for VIP content. VLIVE offers a store where K-pop fans can purchase emoji stickers of their favorite K Pop idols. They have a coming soon section of upcoming videos. All the user has to do is just click on the notification bell, and they will get notified when the video is up. They also have a level-up system where the more you share and engage, the higher you will level up.
The best feature of VLIVE could be their option to filter the language to communicate with fans in their preferred language. For those interested in trying VLIVE, you can download the app here.