Why are mukbang videos so popular

Eating in front of the webcam: This is how some YouTubers earn their money

There has been a trend since 2009 that began on the live streaming platform Afreeca.TV and has now also found its niche on YouTube. We are talking about Muk-Bang, which translates into "eating" and "broadcasting". In this internet video trend, people are consuming large amounts of mostly unhealthy food and filming themselves in the process. The broadcast jockeys (short BJs), as the actors call themselves, earn their money with the feeding orgies. The figures fluctuate between 7,000 and 10,000 US dollars, because the mostly South Korean BJs don't like to talk about their income.

The most famous broadcast jockey generate several million clicks

One of the most famous Muk-Bang BJs is Dorothy. She has 2.6 million subscribers on YouTube and her latest video was viewed over 800,000 times after three days. In one of her most successful videos, she consumes extremely hot noodles and achieved a total of 17 million clicks.

What fascinates the audience about the feeding orgies?

In South Korea, eating out alone is not the norm as it is considered a social event, explains Simon Stawski, one of the founders of Eat Your Kimchi. Part of the popularity of Muk-Bang may therefore be that the livestreams turn the eating of single households into a social interaction again. After all, the broadcasters not only eat, they also interact with their audience by narrating, answering questions and even performing small tasks for the audience.

In Korea, it's not common for people to go out to eat by themselves. Dining is a social activity, and you don't sit and eat alone. For those that can't eat with others, they’ll more than likely stay home to eat alone, but they’ll still have the urge to socialize while eating, which is what I think mukbangers replicate,

says Stawski, who moved to South Korea in 2008. In addition, many viewers are on a diet and indirectly satisfy their own cravings for food by watching. Many nutritionists believe that this format cannot be healthy for both parties, in front of and behind the camera. Even if most mukbangers keep a strict diet outside of their videos, stuffing themselves up to three hours a day is a huge burden on the body. But not only the satisfaction of your own appetite, also the triggering of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) contributes a lot to the popularity of the videos. ASMR describes the experience of a tingling sensation that begins on the scalp and partially extends down to the spine. ASMR can be caused by quiet voices, but also certain noises such as slurping, smacking or clearing throat. The feeling is described as pleasant and for several years has provided space for videos on YouTube that are supposed to evoke the sensation. Said clips have been viewed millions of times.

That can be earned by eating in front of the camera

It is interesting that the broadcasters on Afreeca.TV earn their money mainly through so-called star balloons, which viewers give them voluntarily. As a thank you or as an invitation to an action, send the donations, which cost the equivalent of 10 cents. Ads are also placed on YouTube. Big business is certainly also in product placements. After all, the videos are mostly about food - especially delicious food. So what better advertising could there be for a brand than BJs smacking and enjoying one of the products in front of the camera - with thousands of viewers? According to Afreeca.TV, the top 500 show masters in South Korea earn more than the average full-time salary.

But the trend is not only spreading in South Korea: there are now numerous Mukbanger in America and Canada. "It really depends on how you use your platform," relates Soo Tang, whose YouTube channel, MommyTang, has over 476,000 subscribers, told Today. Tang, like most successful YouTubers, makes a living from monetizing their videos. "I'm based in the U.S., so payout is different from mukbangers in Korea." With successful videos and increasing awareness, there is more merit in other areas:

However, once you get popular, you can make close to $ 100,000 a year here in the U.S. There are many endorsements, e-book and product review payouts.

Is the trend also coming to Germany?

The spread of Muk-Bang started in 2009 and experienced increasing popularity from 2014. Initially only spread in South Korea, the trend soon discovered the English-speaking audience in particular, which is particularly evident in the good English subtitles of the videos. In America and Canada, some YouTubers adapted the concept and found their own fan base. Although the actual idea of ​​Muk-Bang - eating together live in front of the camera - is lost as a result, the videos are enjoying great popularity and will continue to do so in 2019. Until now, the trend has not really taken hold in European countries, But when you consider that it has been constant for ten years and now has an American audience, it can only be seen as a matter of time before the first German YouTubers shovel spaetzle and dumplings in front of the camera and earn their money with it - maybe with a foreign audience, which is brought closer to traditional German food. Finally, it could be argued that the muk-bang feeding orgies have made a significant contribution to the popularity of ramen, kimchi and co. In countries outside of South Korea.