Twitch, following image quality restrictions

Twitch, following image quality restrictions, ‘VOD function discontinued’ only in Korea…


“Twitch,” a global online broadcasting service operated by Amazon, has decided to stop providing VOD (order-type video) content after deteriorating video quality only in Korea. In the industry, there are concerns that Twitch may significantly reduce its domestic business or leave the company altogether due to the controversy over “network usage fees.”

According to the industry on the 10th, Twitch announced in a notice the previous day that it will stop VOD functions including clips, previous broadcasts, highlights, and uploaded contents. The interruption of VOD function applies to all viewers in Korea regardless of domestic and foreign sources, and does not apply to countries other than Korea.

In response, Twitch said, “We have emphasized the importance of complying with Korean laws before,” adding, “We have announced the suspension of VOD functions for Korean viewers as part of our efforts to implement optimal measures to meet evolving regulatory standards.”

As a result, Korean Twitch viewers will not be able to watch VOD content from the 13th of next month, and the function of creating new VOD content in Korea will also be suspended from the beginning of next year. Twitch will officially state that it will prohibit viewing and creating VODs in Korea through changes to the service terms and conditions.

Asked if the VOD suspension is aimed at reducing costs, Twitch said, “The suspension of VOD content in Korea is not related to increased network fees and market costs,” but added, “It is part of an effort to implement the best way to meet evolving regulatory standards.”

When asked if the VOD suspension is permanent, he avoided specific answers, saying, “We will continue to do our best to meet local regulatory requirements with better technology.”

Although Twitch did not officially mention it, the network usage issue, which has recently begun in earnest, seems to have had a significant impact, as it emphasized the expression “best way to meet evolving regulatory conditions.”

Twitch has previously limited the original video quality in Korea to 720p since September 30. At the time, Twitch indirectly cited the burden of network usage fees, saying, “The cost of operating the service in Korea has continued to increase and it is expected to continue in the future.”

The Korea Communications Commission is reportedly investigating whether Twitch’s measures to degrade image quality unfairly restrict user interests. During last month’s parliamentary audit, Han Sang-hyuk, chairman of the Korea Communications Commission, said, “We are reviewing whether Twitch’s measures cause damage to users or constitute a prohibited act (under the Telecommunications Business Act).”

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