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Internet broadcasting and the Beginning of New media

 

‘Naneun Ggomsuda’ has been the talk of the town on the Internet. ‘Naneun Ggomsuda’ is a form of internet broadcasting that uses the function of Apple’s ITunes, Podcast.  Internet broadcasters have created their own culture which is different from public TV and Cable TV.  A Dongguk University student, named Park who lives in a boarding house at the beginning of this year even without having a TV, knew of ‘Afreeca TV’ which is form of Internet broadcasting for spending his free time. He is now into internet broadcasting because it is exciting and enjoyable. He always does internet broadcasting after school. 


Park Won-soon, who was elected on Oct. 26th as the Seoul mayor broadcasted on the spot using Areeca TV which has 7,000 viewers. The election campaign used internet broadcasting and determined it to be a good strategy for maximizing the number of viewers especially viewers of the young generation. As you can see, the influence of Internet broadcasting is ever widening. But with the growth of internet broadcasting, there have also been a few problems.
 Internet broadcasting provides music, texts, pictures, and videos in its broadcasting. Viewers can watch internet broadcasting without worrying about running out of time.  They can also select whatever and whenever they want to watch. Unlike TV public broadcasting, internet broadcasting can interact with viewers and producers of programs can use functions in systematized software.  Without setting the broadcasting system producers can broadcast unique contents and programs.  A company provides the broadcasting system and the producers broadcast by using the system.  Internet broadcasting is open to whoever wants to broadcast.  


 Internet broadcasting has somewhat different features from public broadcastings.  First, the present public broadcasting system does not have communicating structures with producers and viewers in real time. The internet broadcasting system communicates in real time with producers and viewers using a ‘chatting’ function in the systemized software. As broadcasting is bidirectional, viewers can suggest their own opinions about live programs and producers can be provided with opinions in real time. 


 Secondly, public broadcasting has a difficult structure when broadcasting to the world.  But because of the structure of internet broadcasting it is easy to broadcast globally using the features of internet. Netizens of the world often translate funny programs into their own language and upload them onto the internet.


Thirdly, internet broadcasting can broadcast whenever, whatever, wherever and however the producers want to. Wherever the internet can be used the producer can broadcast.  Recently, there are camcorders which can use Wi-Fi. This means the producer can broadcast with camcorders live from the street. This kind of broadcasting is a recent trend of broadcasting.  Companies that provide software to producers try to keep pace with the rapid skyrocketing of smartphone users by developing smartphone programs which can watch live internet broadcasting programs on their smart phone.   For example, NOWCOM, which developed ‘Afreeca TV’, has already developed a program for smart phones and is now the first company for the internet broadcasting market. 


 Moreover, also making internet broadcasting more unique and special is the variety of channels. Internet broadcasting producers can make lots of programs and content that mainstream media cannot because of regulations. For example, Yoosin who has broadcasted for 13 years on the internet has broadcast him eating food. It is called ‘Mukbang’. This kind of unique program has attracted strange viewers but many. 


 Because of the unique features of internet broadcasting, some cultural phenomena are happening.  A BJ has become a new kind of job.  BJ is a producer who broadcasts and makes profits by using fee-based items.  Fee-based items are measures for making profits. A star BJ of ‘Areeca TV’, Inbum has made profits of about 9 million won as of June 2010.  Internet broadcasting not only exudes BJ’s passion, but enjoys BJs’ hobbies and allows the expression of opinions.  BJs think broadcasting on the internet broadcasting system is a job and can make their profits by providing their programs and viewers accept this cultural phenomenon. 


 Also broadcasting can express political opinions.  Not only celebrities and politicians can express their opinions but just regular citizens. They can express their political opinions about recent happenings and interact with viewers with vigorous arguments. BJs speak their opinions without hesitation and can hear the voices of their viewers.  For example, a BJ named ‘Mangchibuin’, from Areeca TV, broadcasts about political events every day.  She broadcasts supporting programs for Park Won-soon until the recent by-election. 


 However, there are concerns about internet broadcasting as it’s grows up.  First, the broadcasting of swear words is rising quite rapidly.  As KCC (Korea Communications Commission) does not actively inflict punishment about broadcasting with swear words, there are broadcastings which BJs have started that use swear words and finish their broadcastings with swear words.  Due to this ‘Daum TV pot player’ has introduced a new system of broadcasting.  Until October 2011, people who join Daum’s site can broadcast with no conditions. But for using swear words, people who want to broadcast on Daum TV pot player, have to register their broadcast proposal to Daum in advance and need to go through the evaluation of Daum. 


Secondly, there are also a few inadequate broadcasts which use inadequate language and inadequate behavior for children and adolescents. For example, there is a growing controversy, which one BJ broadcasted himself sniffing glue for three hours. Managers of Areeca TV have not reacted as fast as they can and are seeking new regulations. 
Lastly, broadcastings without regulations and bans can exert a serious influence upon society and political surroundings. For instance, internet broadcasting called ‘Chanyang’ has broadcasted praises for North Korea and broadcasted praising music of North Korea’s leader. The manager of this broadcasting site has been charged as a violator of the National Security Laws. 


 The broadcasting system in Korea stands higher in numbers than America’s internet broadcasting system. Next year, KT has plans to provide the world’s largest service by opening a combined wire-wireless service. As we can see, internet broadcasting is not just for Korea but for citizens all over the world now.  Using internet broadcasting is easy and gives Koreans a chance to show Korea’s culture and customs to the world. But if internet broadcasting does not overcome its problems, it faces a dim prospect.  Internet broadcasting will be degraded as seen as low-quality and sensational broadcasting when compared with public broadcasting and cable broadcasting.   

Kim Jong-ha  keep14@dongguk.edu

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