Sports OTT Landscape in South Korea

How Digital and Mobile Streaming Is Disrupting TV in 2019

About This Report
Streaming services, telco-based platforms and hybrid players are disrupting sports TV broadcasting in South Korea. A shift toward mobile is also drawing sports fans away from legacy media.

Executive Summary

In South Korea, the emergence of streaming services, telco-based platforms and hybrid players is disrupting a sports market traditionally dominated by TV broadcasters. A shift toward mobile is also drawing sports fans away from legacy media.

  • Who are the major players competing to deliver sports content? Challenging traditional TV broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS are local telcos, such as SK Broadband, LG and KT, and digital streaming services Naver Sports, AfreecaTV and SPOTV—as well as foreign competition from YouTube.
  • Are South Koreans watching sports on mobile devices? Driven partly by a younger demographic shift to mobile, and by an overall trend in consumer behavior that favors mobile, the three major wireless carriers in South Korea—SK Telecom, KT and LG U+—plan to prioritize sports content when they roll out their 5G networks in March 2019. Ipsos surveys in 2014 and 2018 showed that South Koreans are shifting to mobile devices. Although the number of internet users ages 16 to 64 who were aware of the World Cup and planned to watch or listen to games digitally decreased by 4% between 2014 and 2018, the exact same percentage of respondents shifted to mobile, from 20% in 2014 to 24% in 2018.
  • Are esports popular in Korea? The online gaming sector grew by 14.9% to reach KRW83 billion ($75.4 million) as of 2016, according to a report on the 2017 online game industry published by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Creative Content Agency. South Korea made up 14.9% of the global market, estimated to be worth $557 billion, that year.

KEY STAT: Mobile was the most popular channel among South Korean internet users ages 19 to 49 for watching the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The rate of mobile access to the Winter Olympics, in particular, exceeded TV.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report surveys the sports streaming industries in South Korea. We catalog streaming services, analyze market trends and data, and provide takeaways for marketers.

This is part of a collection of 11 reports. To access each report, read the global overview "Sports OTT Landscape 2019."

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Market Background
  3. Consumers and Sports Viewing
  1. Esports
  2. Opportunities for Marketers
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery


Angela Kim, and Paul Verna


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