Digital Media Trends in Korea

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Digital Media Trends in Korea



According to the Digital News Report from Reuters, the Coronavirus crisis has impacted the news industry worldwide, decreasing the sales of printed newspapers and boosting new business models such as subscriptions and memberships. Overall, the industry has seen many losses due to the global economic drop and yet, this crisis has shown the value of accurate and reliable information. On average, the trust in the news has grown by 6% during the pandemic.


Digital Media Landscape in 2021


In the case of South Korea, news consumption and trust in news media have both increased since the outbreak of COVID-19. In 2021, Koreans tend to rely more on television news and the online portals Naver and Daum, which have seen a sharp rise in trust (+11%) compared to 2019.


Digital Media Landscape in Korea 2021

Source: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism 2021


A survey by the Korea Press Foundation found that 72% of participants had increased their news usage over the last years. Other services, such as OTT streaming services like YouTube Premium and Netflix, have also grown and we can see the tendency of Korean consumers willing to pay for a mix of diverse content.


However, media outlets are still struggling to reinforce finances that have been affected by the pandemic. Broadcasting, print, and other media decreased by about 5 percent, while outdoor media decreased around 21.2 percent as the COVID-19 pandemic had the greatest impact on outdoor media.


In the online media, few people are willing to pay a subscription just for news since in South Korea online portals offer very convenient news packages of free news from multiple publishers. Also, in 2020 Naver announced they would be switching back to an advertising revenue share model with an additional subscription-based model for premium content.


Online news payment Korea


Social Media for News Composition in 2021


YouTube remains the most widely used platform for Korean users, but KakaoTalk, Facebook and Instagram are emerging as fresh news sources. Also notable is the increased industry focus on email newsletters, with a variety of new services from start-ups to mainstream media companies, even if usage levels remain low.


Social Media for News Composition in 2021

Source: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism 2021

The Overall Advertising Market trend


The total advertising spending in 2021 is estimated to reach 15,142.5 billion won, up 4.1 percent from 2020. Among the media that showed a decline this year, broadcasting and print media maintained their declining trends. However, outdoor, and other media are expected to shift into a growth model. Online media is expected to grow by 9.4 percent in 2021.


The rapid growth of mobile advertising was particularly evident online. The survey revealed that Internet advertising spending was estimated to have recorded an 8.9 percent year-on-year increase, while mobile advertising grew sharply by 27 percent, posting a steep rise every year. However, the rate of growth for mobile advertising is expected to gradually decrease after 2020. (Increase by 18.8 percent in 2020 / Increase by 11.5 percent in 2021)

Source: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

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