What is AfreecaTV (and how does it compare to Twitch)?

Last Updated on 04/01/2022 by Dean

Have you heard of AfreecaTV and were left wondering what it is?

This article covers everything you need to know about one of South Korea’s biggest live-streaming platforms.

What is AfreecaTV?

what is afreecatv, south korea's most popular live streaming platform?

AfreecaTV is a live streaming platform from South Korea that was founded in 2006. Broadcasters on AfreecaTV are known as BJs or Broadcast Jockeys. AfreecaTV features video game streamers as well as IRL streamers.

IRL content is made up of mukbangs (which roughly translates to ‘eating broadcast’), just chatting sessions, study sessions, and exotic dances.

Streams on AfreecaTV are monetized by Starballoons donations which can be bought by viewers for 110 won each ($0.10 USD). You can compare Starballoons to Twitch Bits.

Just like Twitch streamers, AfreecaTV streamers upload stream highlights to YouTube.

AfreecaTV vs Twitch

AfreecaTV and Twitch have a lot in common. Both are live streaming platforms that feature a variety of video game and IRL streamers.

While Twitch is a global platform, attracting streamers and viewers from anywhere in the world, AfreecaTV’s audience is limited to South Korea even though you can watch from abroad.

AfreecaTV is actually older than Twitch. The original version (W Beta) was released in May of 2005. Meanwhile, Twitch’s original version (Justin.tv) was released in March of 2007. Nearly 2 years later.

Even more than Twitch, which many would consider having a big donation culture, AfreecaTV streamers rely almost entirely on donations from viewers which they call Starballoons.

Both Twitch and AfreecaTV are lacking a proper discovery system. Instead ranking broadcasts based on their respective viewer counts.

AfreecaTV streamers can also subscribe to their favorite streamers. Subscriptions are based on 3-month ($9), 6-month ($18), and 12-month ($36) periods. Subscribers get access to similar benefits Twitch offers such as:

Aside from that, they also get other benefits such as special chat colors, private nicknames, and access to full streamer rooms.

AfreecaTV streamers are leaving AfreecaTV for YouTube and Twitch

According to an article by The Korean Times, more and more Korean streamers are moving from AfreecaTV to platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.

For the same reasons that Twitch streamers are moving to YouTube, AfreecaTV broadcasters are moving to YouTube because it actually has an algorithm that matches viewers with broadcasts based on their personal interests as opposed to local streams or streams with high view counts.

Aside from that, most AfreecaTV streamers already upload highlights from their broadcasts to YouTube. Through this, they can build an audience that once big enough, might compel them to make the move.

The move from AfreecaTV to other platforms started in 2016 when South Korea’s (at the time) most popular streamer, Na Dong-hyun, moved to YouTube. He made the decision after receiving a one-week ban from the platform stating that its policies, including censorship and high commissions, are unfair toward BJs.

Another AfreecaTV Bj, Banzz left for YouTube stating: “The reason I left was that Afreeca is limited to Korea while YouTube is a platform which is open to overseas as well, allowing me to gain greater exposure and viewership.”


AfreecaTV is a Korean-based streaming platform comparable to Twitch. It is one of the biggest live-streaming platforms in South Korea which is slowly losing streamers and viewers to global streaming giants such as Twitch and YouTube.

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