|BJ Shelly, said to be Korea's top-earning broadcast jockey, attracts visitors by dancing on her live-streaming show. / Courtesy of afreecaTV|
South Korea's broadcast jockeys (BJs), live online show hosts who stream themselves doing whatever it takes to keep netizens on their channels, earn jaw-dropping amount when their looks and content prove exceptional.
A netizen posted Wednesday the top 50 BJs who earned the most on afreecaTV, Korea's most popular online platform for BJs and their fans.
The anonymous netizen ranked the jockeys based on the amount of money BJs earned by exchanging for cash the "star balloons" they received from fans.
Fans who are watching a certain BJ's live-streaming show can send star balloons ― like a cyber chip that BJs are desperate to earn and later exchange for real money ― through afreecaTV by clicking a button.
The top BJs, who mostly go by nicknames, earned hundreds of millions of won in the first six months of this year.
Shelly, who attracts fans by showing her cleavage, pretty face, sexy dancing and chatting with fans on her channel, earned 552 million won ($480,000) during the period.
|BJ Shelly knows how to keep her fans glued to her channel, in this case demonstrating how to deal with a male guest obnoxiously drunk on soju and beer.|
Shelly, claimed by other bloggers to be 27, was followed by K with 455 million won, Daon with 444 million, Namsoon with 414 million and Dabin with 349 million.
The streaming platform's spokesperson, however, claimed the data was unreliable because it was "just gleaned and released to public by someone who must be an avid fan of afreecaTV."
"There are no ways for us to check how much each BJ earned or how many star balloons they exchanged," said the spokesperson who declined to identify himself. "It beats me how that netizen came up with that data. I guess he must have counted all the star balloons BJs collected and tallied them on charts."
BJs on afreecaTV are categorized into three groups based on how much their income gets shared with the platform provider. "Partner BJs" take 80 percent of their incomes while 20 percent goes to the company. "Best BJs" take 70 percent and "Ordinary BJs" 60 percent, while the rest is for the company.
BJs' star balloons-based incomes without a legal cap to limit their earnings were referred to in the National Assembly audit this month.
Rep. Kim Sung-soo from the Minjoo Party of Korea questioned afreecaTV CEO Seo Su-gil about the fact that visitors to the company's site could give BJs balloons worth "excessively extravagant" amounts of monetary value ― up to 60 million won ― at once.
A Privacy Protection and Ethics Division official from the Korea Communications Commission said the number of balloons that visitors can give to BJs on afreecaTV and other live-streaming sites needed to be capped, according to Segye Ilbo Wednesday.
"We plan to introduce a regulation to enforce the cap and are considering how much the maximum cap should be," the official said.