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Which is more popular? TV vs. Internet in Korea and America

The mid-20th century gave us television. The late 20th century gave us the Internet. Since then, Reliable Wifi has come to fruition for the masses. Now in the 21st century, a battle rages between the two, as they try to conquer the market of countless viewers. Who will come out the victor? Well, that depends on the part of the world in which you happen to be residing. Let the fight begin!


Before everything went online, Korea, along with the rest of the world, had simple broadcast television. What’s broadcast television, you ask? It simply means your TV picks up signals sent out by broadcasting stations like your local news station or big corporate stations like MBC (Munwha Broadcasting Corporation) or SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System).
When it comes to Korean TV, Korean dramas have teenage girls (and some men) swooning, jumping, screaming, and whatever other overemotional reaction, over their favorite K-stars.

Fans look up as their saviors come down upon them from Heaven

Fans look up as their saviors come down upon them from Heaven

The Korean wave, or Hallyu, began in the mid-1990s, but it took most of Asia by storm at the beginning of the 21st century. As it spread around Asia, Korean dramas and boy/girl bands picked up popularity in Europe and America as well. These dramas are what make Korean TV essential to its audience.

Want to watch “Modern Farmer”? Tune in to SBS on the weekends. Have an itch for the latest “Music Bank”? Flip over to KBS Friday night. TV still plays a gargantuan role in being a platform for viewers to catch up on their favorite Korean shows. According to a survey by Quartz, a whopping 78 percent of Koreans watch television every day, compared to the 26 percent that watches online videos.

The news is also a big part of any home television set. Folks that have yet to catch onto this new “Internet fad” still rely on good old fashioned television for information. The biggest broadcasting stations in Korea like MBC, SBS, or KBS produce great drama series and other family-fun programs like “Running Man (???)” or “Infinite Challenge.” However, they are also the biggest news media outlets in Korea as well. These stations hold the most viewership rating in Korea. Though it’s true they may be biased towards their political views when it comes to reporting the news, the majority of Koreans watch their shows for the latest news. However, with the Internet, a lot of Koreans can find other news sources online.

Exactly how much Internet do the Korean people use in this IT era?

Grow your own Hallyu star!

Grow your own Hallyu star!

Everyone knows South Korea provides many of the fastest Internet networks in the world. But do they use the Internet to its full advantage? After all, there are more Internet users (33 million) than there are people with television sets (15 million). With such a fast connection, watching videos or simply surfing the Internet is quite convenient. Korean television provides original shows, but even TV programs can be found on the Internet. Sites like wwitv.com air major Korean and other countries’ broadcasts online.

Pictured: Social gathering

Pictured: Social gathering

But the Internet is more than just watching shows. It’s a vast cyber world where information and other forms of entertainment collide—not to mention the online games. There are thousands of Internet cafes and PC rooms scattered throughout Korea that bring in people of all ages. Also, let’s not forget smartphones. Oh God, are they everywhere in Korea. According to Mashable, 73 percent of Koreans have a smartphone, and with free messaging apps like Kakaotalk, it’s quite difficult for people to get along in society without one. Hell, some people can’t go an entire day without their smartphones (my personal record is six hours).

Winner: Internet

Yes, Korean dramas are quite popular throughout all of Asia and in some Western countries, too. However, Gangnam Style spread like wildfire throughout the world, and that would not have been possible without the Internet. A lot of Koreans rely on the Internet to watch, read, and listen to the news as well as talk to their friends and associates. And when many of the college students in Korea don’t own a television, it’s much easier for this age group to be content with having the Internet. Koreans are more dependent on the Internet than they are on TV. With mobile technology such as smartphones, almost everyone has a connection to the Internet. This connection to their phones and tablets seems like an addiction in Korean. Though TV is still popular when it comes to shows and other mainstream media, the people of Korea would still prefer their Internet connection.


Let’s start with the stats. According to Tubefilter, the average American watches 5.3 times more TV than YouTube. Roughly speaking, Americans watch about four hours of TV per day. It’s hard to imagine being able to sit on the couch every day and watch TV for that long. Perhaps the shows are that much entertaining. After all, American TV shows like the never-ending NCIS have penetrated many countries, including Korea. It’s not only popular shows that keep Americans stuck to their televisions.

11 years in the running. Seriously, we get it. You guys are awesome. Now just stop. Please.

11 years in the running. Seriously, we get it. You guys are awesome. Now just stop. Please.

Sports broadcasts are televised year-long. The biggest sporting event is the Super Bowl. Companies spend millions of dollars for 30 seconds of advertisements. The 2014 Super Bowl set the record for the highest viewed show in U.S. history with 111.5 million views. These sporting events along with other shows are great at bringing people together. People can also watch these shows much cheaper online using an Android Box as this comes with lots of content preinstalled.
Many people flock to someone’s house to watch the latest NFL game or NBA match. And even those who like similar shows like Glee, have a party dedicated to eating unhealthy junk food and watching their favorite shows.
However, the amount of time spent watching television is beginning to fade due to the Internet.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2d-dZlxqs7g]

With apps like Hulu and Netflix, Americans can watch their favorite TV shows anywhere and anytime. The Internet gives them the flexibility to catch up on their latest shows at the viewer’s convenience. It’s also a gateway for people to comment and express their thoughts and opinions about the TV shows they have come to adore. This is helped by quicker internet supply. Internet service Lincoln NE has never been stronger. I don’t think there has been a single episode of Game of Thrones after which viewers would go online and praise or spout angry comments. Pretty soon, viewers won’t have to watch TV. They can just simply watch what they want online.

Americans between the ages of 18 and 49, which is the target for most major networks, are watching less television than the previous year, according to a Nielsen survey. After all, it makes more sense to pay 10 dollars a month rather than spend nearly 100 dollars on broadcast television. Let’s not forget that smartphones and tablet computers are also having a major impact on increased internet usage.

Viewers would need a TV set to watch shows and other programs, but with mobile phones and tablets providing the freedom to log onto the Internet, viewers have access almost anywhere.

Words of wisdom from Ron Burgundy himself

Words of wisdom from Ron Burgundy himself

Winner: TV

Surprised? It is true, broadcast TV is dying down while Internet streaming is gaining more popularity. However, TV is still the biggest media outlet in America at the moment. True, you can watch almost anything online, but the television is still the biggest medium when it comes to shows and other TV programs. Ever since the invention of the television, TV has been one of the forefronts in bringing people together. By looking at multiple statistics, it’s evident that Americans are still spending a lot of time watching television. To see some cable tv statistics in 2020, it might be worth visiting a website similar to infinitydish.com, for example. By reading those statistics, you should be able to see that a lot of us are still making the most of cable TV, despite there being multiple online streaming sites available for a cheaper price. Though this may change soon with the rise of the Internet, modern television has yet to lose its popularity in America.

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Written by Isaac Kim

Hey there, I’m an aspiring journalist who is in the prime of his life. I’ve lived in America most of my life, but because I can adapt to anything, I’ve integrated quite well in Korean society. I hope to see the world and write about and share what I see. I like places with large bodies of water (especially the ocean), and one day, I will have a kickass beach house where I’ll spend my time writing and sipping mojitos.

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