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[Herald Interview] Korean creators capable of global growth: Collab Asia CEO

South Korean content creators show potential for global growth particularly in gaming, K-pop and beauty-related content, through which they would be able to stabilize income from platforms, according to the head executive of Collab Asia Friday.

“By bringing in more viewers from abroad, Korean creators can increase their stable income through YouTube,” Eugene Choi said in a group interview Friday. Choi visited Korea as part of the CKL Live Talk, a two-day forum for content start-ups hosted by the Culture Ministry together with the Korea Creative Content Agency at Layer 57 in Seoul.

According to Choi, this focus on raising the cost per impression (CPM) income for creators is something that is lacking in the current content creation market in Korea. 

Eugene Choi, CEO of Collab Asia, speaks to reporters at Layer 57 in Seoul Friday. (KOCCA)
Eugene Choi, CEO of Collab Asia, speaks to reporters at Layer 57 in Seoul Friday. (KOCCA)

“Multi-channel networks in Korea tend to focus more on making money through sponsorships, but it‘s revenue from YouTube that allows creators to maintain a steady income,” he said.

Collab Asia is an independent multi-channel network of content creators and influencers that was spun off this July from the American company Collab Inc. after a funding round that secured $3 million from venture capital firm Altos Ventures.

“In the past three years, we’ve seen incredible growth in Asia, specifically in Korea and Japan. That‘s why this year it made a lot of sense for us this year to spin off Collab Asia as a separate corporation,” Choi said. “Our vision is to adapt the successful business model that was developed in the US and adapt it for Asia.”

Collab’s aim is to support content creators in securing ad revenue and protect their copyrights. Founded by three brothers who were content creators themselves, Collab offers services that are less profit-oriented and tailor-made for creators, said Choi. 

A former employee in the planning office of media company CJ‘s American branch, Choi has experienced how large media companies approach content creation -- and is confident that Collab brings something different to the fast-growing content creator market in Korea.

Unlike in the US, where top creators often produce content focused on comedy or vlogging, Korea has shown tremendous success with content creation in gaming and beauty. 

Although most of the views in these categories currently come from Korea, there is potential to attract viewers from around the world. In the case of K-pop content, Collab’s data shows that 20 to 25 percent of views currently come from the US, indicating demand for Korean content overseas.

According to Choi, beauty content is already showing promise as Korean cosmetics enter more markets abroad and Korean beauty content creators begin to add subtitles and English to their videos.

“We want to see how we can help develop creators in Korea, and create fans overseas like K-pop idols,” Choi said.

By Won Ho-jung (