The metaverse platform is emerging as a new alternative in the one-person media market represented by YouTube, Twitch, and Africa. In particular, attention is focused on whether Naver ZEPETO, which has 250 million subscribers worldwide, will replace them.
According to industry sources, Naver ZEPETO secured 250 million subscribers last year. Among them, 90% are overseas users, and ‘Generation Z,’ born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s, accounts for 80% of the total users.
Naver Jet, the operator of ZEPETO, received an investment of 225 billion won from SoftBank Vision Fund, Hive, SM, and JYP at the end of last year. According to securities analysts, the corporate value of Naver Jet jumped from 164.5 billion won in July last year to 1.2 trillion won in November. The enterprise value of Naver Jet is expected to jump up to 4 trillion won this year.
Naver Jet concentrates on global expansion by establishing a corporation in Hong Kong following the US. In addition, in Korea, it is trying to secure content while attracting corporate customers such as Deraeorae, Hera, CGV, Baskin Robbins, and Starbucks.
It is also receiving interest from global K-pop fans by collaborating with K-pop artists. ZEPETO is actively used by new artists and star idols such as Hive, SM, JYP, and YG for marketing activities.
At the same time, it is also trying to secure influencers who will enrich the content, so it is expected to compete with YouTube, Twitch, and Afreeca TV, which are representative one-person media platforms.
DIA TV, CJ ENM’s one-person creator agency (MCN), collaborated with Naver Jet last month to foster virtual world creators. The two companies will jointly conduct creative activities and training, advertising, marketing, sales, and commerce within the ZEPETO platform.
In addition, virtual human influencers such as Lucy and Rosie are also active in the metaverse. In particular, corporate users are actively using avatar influencers as their marketing tools.
ZEPETO, with its K-pop contents and creators at the forefront, is concentrating on entertainment among metaverse platforms and is considered the most popular platform after YouTube. In particular, unlike a one-person media platform that has to consume the creator’s content unilaterally, the metaverse platform can also decorate its avatar, so the role of interactive content is more decisive.
V Live, a video streaming service created by Naver in 2015, serves as a communication space between celebrities and fans, and the number of monthly users is approaching 30 million. The industry expects V Live to create great synergy when combined with ZEPETO.
The Metaverse platform is expected to become a platform that will replace one-person media in the future. It is advantageous for the convergence of K-pop, creators, commerce, and two-way communication.
An industry official said, “The fandom culture is already moving from YouTube to the metaverse. The strong character of two-way communication is attractive to idol fans,” he said. He continued, “Because of these characteristics, the creator culture will also move to a metaverse platform optimized for two-way communication.”
However, ZEPETO is considered a limitation in that the maximum number of users per room is 16, and the number of people in spectator mode is 60. For this reason, in Korea, ZEPETO is expected to compete with SK Telecom’s metaverse platform ‘Ifland.’
Ifland has a maximum of 31 people connected and can accommodate 100 people in spectator mode. Also, if and can share videos and PDF files, ZEPETO does not support such a function.
For this reason, ZEPETO is evaluated as an entertainment and commerce-oriented platform, and the island is evaluated as a community-oriented platform. However, to expand the metaverse market, where competition is fierce, both sides are expected to update their functions and partner with companies and creators.