Twitch fined over $300k in South Korea despite exiting country

Image credit: Twitch

Amazon-owned live streaming platform Twitch has received a 435m won (~£257,000) fine from the South Korean telecommunications watchdog.

The fine from the Korean Telecommunications Commission (KCC) was imposed due to the platform suspending its videos on demand (VOD) service in the country.

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According to Korean news agency Yonhap, the KCC determined the termination of Twitch’s VOD service to be a violation of the country’s business law by ‘undermining the interests of users’.

In addition to the fine, the Commission has also ordered Twitch to provide evidence justifying its decision to terminate the VOD service was necessary if the platform is to resume operations in South Korea in the future.

Before suspending VODs, Twitch made the decision to reduce its source video quality from 1080p to 720p in September 2022 in a bid to save money. According to the platform, the measure wasn’t sufficient to reduce costs.

In addition to the main 435m won fine, the KCC also imposed a 15m won (~£8,900) fine on Twitch due to the platform’s failure to apply a system to prevent the distribution of illegal footage.

Twitch already announced last year that as of February 27th 2024, the platform will shut down its South Korean operations. CEO Dan Clancy explained in a blog post at the time that the platform had no clear way to offset high operating costs in the country.

2024 has been a turbulent year for Twitch. In January 2024, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy noted that the platform isn’t profitable. During a Q&A session, Clancy said: “We’ve implied this before when we need to run it sustainably. But I’ll be blunt. We aren’t profitable at this point.”

It is unclear how the closure of Twitch in South Korea will impact the esports industry and communities in the country. Several leagues including the LCK use the platform for broadcasts. South Korea is one of the largest esports markets in the world, particularly in League of Legends.

Jonno Nicholson
Jonno is a Freelance News Writer for Esports Insider and has been part of the ESI team since 2019! His interests include the rapid rise of sim racing and its impact on the wider industry.