I did a post in late December with some findings from a recent KISA nationwide survey on mobile internet use. That post noted the extremely rapid diffusion of LTE mobile services in South Korea and the exponential increase in data traffic generated by the popularity of these services.
Here I would like to stress what is both a main reason for the popularity of LTE and a major cause of the increase in data traffic, the viewing of mobile video. As reported last year by Digital Times, a Korean language publication of the Korea Economic Daily, 94 percent of all smartphone users reported viewing mobile video as of April 2013, up from 88 percent a year earlier. The total proportion of time spent viewing mobile video was also up almost two percent over the same time period.
As shown in the accompanying graphic (click to see a full size version), Cisco's Visual Networking Index predicts that mobile video will increase from 51 percent of global data traffic in 2012 to 66.5 percent of traffic in 2017. Korea is already near the projected global levels of mobile video traffic and it is expected to increase to 74 percent by 2017. The Digital Times article also noted the popularity of Google's YouTube in this country and its successful advertising-based commercial model. Overall, video on demand accounted for about 57% of all mobile video viewing. According to Nielsen KoreanClick, Youtube was by far the most popular entertainment (video) web site in Korea as of December 2013, reaching nearly 34% of the market.
Television is changing, with implications for policymakers, consumers and those who make and distribute programs. Those of us living in South Korea these days have a front row seat to observe the changes.