Revenues of top streamers keep rising
Several years ago, few believed that people could get paid for eating. But now they see that anybody can make money by eating a lot in front of a camera, thanks to live streaming platforms.
When some Youtube or Afreeca TV streamers, called broadcast jockeys (BJs), began making $10,000 a month through live-stream eating, called mukbang in Korean, they made headlines to the surprise of many people.
The monthly income of top BJs has now reached six digits a month owing to the popularity of mukbang, a portmanteau of the Korean words for “eating” and “broadcasting.”
Fans of famous BJs reward them with virtual gifts, which can be exchanged for actual money. They can also fatten their wallets through advertisements and sponsorship.
For example, a total of 46.8 million watched BJ Ddeonggae’s mukbang last month via Youtube alone. As each view is estimated to give revenue of $2.5 to BJ on average, his estimated income last month was $117,000.
Coming in at second was Dorothy, a female BJ who is good at eating extremely spicy food. Up to 38.4 million watched her video clips, which means her estimated monthly turnover was $96,000.
Popularity of social eating continues
“As time has passed, however, mukbang has gained more and more popularity, and a growing number of new BJs have made their debut with a diverse mix of food. The trend is expected to continue for the time being.
“When Mukbang first came, people thought that it would be a temporary trend. Even now, many do not believe that a person can make a living by just eating a lot,” a Seoul analyst said.
“As time has passed, however, mukbang has gained more and more popularity, and a growing number of new BJs have made their debut with a diverse mix of food. The trend is expected to continue for the time being.”
Against this backdrop, some celebrities have become BJs. Entertainers from the past and even older K-pop stars have become streamers. Some watch funny videos or play games, and some just eat.
Mukbang attracts not only Koreans but also foreign fans. Some BJs put subtitles on their video clips to win the hearts and minds of people outside Korea.
“We thought that this form of eating would be popular here because Koreans love to eat together. But that trait might apply to all people around the world,” the analyst said.