Q&A: Hugh Kim, YouTube Korea Content Partnership Manager – The Guy that Supercharges Your Channel


If you’ve managed to build a sizable following on YouTube, then you’ve likely been contacted by one of the company’s Content Partnership Managers working in your region.

Specializing in building your success (and of course, the success of YouTube as well), think of them as that third stage booster rocket that can propel your channel into megastar status. That is, of course, if you’ve got the clickable content to fuel the ride.

Read More: Interview: Hyundai Brand Strategy Director Minsoo Kim on Hyundai’s rise and the Road Ahead


 

And yes, that includes streamlining your monetization –which might translate into success like that of Felix Kjellberg, better known online as PewDiePie, who earned a not too shabby $12 million, according to Forbes.

Branding in Asia recently spoke with Hugh Kim, YouTube Content Partnership Manager for Korea, about what he does, the future of user generated content, and the fascinating popularity in Korea of ‘mukbang’ channels, where people do nothing but eat.


Tell us about YouTube Content Partnership and your role in managing it?

To put it simply, I help content creators to become more successful on YouTube. This means that I have regular meetings with top content creators, review their YouTube channels, identify areas to improve in terms of programming, monetization, branded content, audience development and so on.

Movie review channels are growing fast these days and I am sure Koreans would love to see more global movie channels, if they are subtitled well in Korean, which is not often the case yet.


 

Top content creators don’t necessarily mean top individual creators, but also TV Broadcasters and production companies that have high presence on YouTube.

What are some YouTube content trends that are unique to the Korean market?

‘Mukbang’ or eating shows comes first to my mind. Why would Koreans love watching others eat? Ironically, I believe this is related to Korean culture being less tolerant to obesity. A lot of people don’t eat as much as they want fearing they will become fat. Mukbang is a one way to get a vicarious satisfaction by watching others eat a lot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS3huRrj94c

You recently gave a talk at the AdStars festival called, “The evolution of creator content.” Can you talk about that and where you see things going forward?

When YouTube first landed in Korea 10 years ago, we started partnering with traditional media to license their content on YouTube. As the platform got bigger and bigger, local UGC (User-generated content) stars started to realize the high potential of monetizing their videos on YouTube, especially among game livecast stars.

If an international creator wants to get attention from Korean viewers, they might consider thinking of a way to link two different cultures and how to create entertaining stories around that.

Then more people jumped into various categories that have been successful globally, namely beauty, kids and food. Now, we see not only individuals but professional production companies join the platform creating mobile-friendly entertainment shows and dramas.

So, what happens next?

I believe the line between professional and amateur content creators will blur even more. We will soon see some of YouTube’s top channels having higher viewership than a top TV entertainment show, generating high advertising demand for big brands.

Among the top 10 Korean YouTube channels, 80 percent of their views are from people watching from outside of Korea. How about going the other way? What international content resonates most strongly with Korean audiences?

Music and movies the most. I am not just talking about music videos and movie trailers. Koreans love singing and love watching others singing too. An entertainment show that relates to singing is usually an easy win in Korea.

In terms of movies, Korea is one of the top countries in cinema attendance. Movie review channels are growing fast these days and I am sure Koreans would love to see more global movie channels if they are subtitled well in Korean, which is not often the case yet.

What are some tips you would give to international content creators looking to “make it big” in the Korean YouTube market?

The Koreanenglishman is probably one of the most successful international creators to attract Korean audience. They adopted the format of ‘culture reaction’ where English people react to Korean food and other culture. If any international creator wants to get attention from Korean viewers, they might consider thinking of a way to link two different cultures and how to create entertaining stories around that.

Your job is to help people become more successful on the YouTube platform. Why don’t you get your own channel going and become a big star?

That is a question that I ask to myself constantly. I am passionate about music so, if I were to seriously start my own channel, it is likely to be a music channel. I am sure time will come someday, but for now, I enjoy helping other creators and learning more about success factors.

Bobby McGill

Bobby McGill

Bobby is the founder and publisher of Branding in Asia.

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