This South Korean teen is making thousands by filming himself eating

Youkyung Lee (edited@mck_beth
Thursday 20 August 2015 10:00

Every evening, 14-year-old Kim Sung-jin orders fried chicken, pizza or Chinese food to eat in a small room of his family's home south of Seoul.

He gorges as he chats into a webcam with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of teenagers watching.

That's the show, and it makes Kim money: 2m won (£1,080) in his most successful episode. Better known to his viewers by the nickname Patoo, he is one of the youngest broadcasters on Afreeca TV, a live-broadcasting app launched in 2006.

While the internet has been making stars for years - from bloggers to gamers who play for millions of YouTube viewers - outsiders may find it puzzling, if not outright bizarre, for young people to spend hours watching someone eating. But in South Korea, Afreeca TV has become a big player in internet subculture and a crucial part of social life for teens.

Shows like Kim's are known as "Meok Bang", a mash-up Korean word of broadcast and eating. They are the most popular among some 5,000 live shows that are aired live at any given moment on Afreeca TV.

Kim started the show essentially to find someone to eat with. He lives with his grandparents, and they ate dinner so early he got hungry at night. The show also bought him unexpected joy: he said that even though he's just an ordinary teenager, "people say hello to me on the street".

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