On January 19, YouTube announced a new promotion for its annual subscription service, but only for a few selected countries. The premium service is slated to cost ₩43,000 KRW (about $36.10 USD) per year and would give users the ability to watch all of the platform’s videos without any advertisements. This promotion would also give access to ad-free YouTube Music for the year as well.
And while the news was an exciting announcement at first, Korean netizens began to express their frustrations with YouTube because of the selected countries—while ten countries were chosen for the premium promotion, South Korea was not amongst them.
According to the reports, the United States of America, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Germany, Thailand, and Mexico were the ten nations chosen for YouTube’s premium service.
The reason this has become controversial is because South Korea is amongst one of the top countries where YouTube is serviced the most.
Not only that, but the price breakdown of what the annual cost would be without the promotion also became an issue. In South Korea, the annual subscription for YouTube Premium is priced at ₩108,000 KRW (about $95.60 USD), which is almost three times as expensive as the ongoing promotional value.
Following this announcement, netizens immediately took to different online communities to call out YouTube on their supposed discrimination. Comments, such as “why is South Korea not included”, “I guess our country is viewed as pushovers”, “I don’t understand why it’s available in Japan, but not to us”, “They don’t recognize the value in K-content”, “I was paying full price, but now I won’t”, and more could be seen all through the internet.
This outrage is not surprising since this is not the first time South Korea was omitted from a YouTube premium promotion. Back in 2021, the video sharing platform introduced a new student and family rate for selected countries. Out of the dozens of selected countries, however, South Korea was once again, not included in the list.