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Live Streamer Gold Rush: How These Online Streamers Raked in Millions

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Seo Ji Soo’s Instagram

According to the 2023 ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) Report released last Tuesday by SOOP (formerly AfreecaTV), the streamer distribution revenue, which includes star balloon commissions and subscription fees, for AfreecaTV BJs (Broadcast Jockeys) reached 476.1 billion won ($344 million) the previous year. This figure represents a 22.7% increase from the prior year and is the highest ever recorded.

The streamer distribution money has been continuously increasing, from 153.1 billion won ($110 million) in 2018 to 195.7 billion won ($141 million) in 2019, 251.5 billion won ($182 million) in 2020, and 346.3 billion won ($250 million) in 2021. Of this, about 90% is star balloon commission.

The number of BJs currently active on AfreecaTV is estimated to be around 30,000, with over 2 million monthly users.

The primary source of income for BJs on AfreecaTV is from “star balloons,” with the revenue split between the BJ and AfreecaTV in a 3 to 7 ratio.

The monthly income of top-ranked BJs is known to reach 500 million to 700 million won ($360,000 to $506,000).

Popular AfreecaTV BJ Commander Zico reportedly earned over 30 billion won ($22 million) last year.

When actress Seo Ji Soo conducted a live streaming on AfreecaTV last February, she received 50,000-star balloons in about 4 hours, earning 5 million won ($3,600).

Thanks to the favorable performance of star balloons, SOOP is expected to achieve its highest-ever performance this year.

According to financial information company FN Guide, SOOP’s annual sales and operating profit consensus (average estimate of securities companies) for this year are expected to increase by 22.2% and 30.0%, respectively, from the previous year to 424.9 billion won ($307 million) and 117.4 billion won ($85 million).

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