S. Korea slaps 435 mln-won fine on Twitch for suspending service

The South Korean telecommunications watchdog said Friday it has slapped a fine of 435 million won (US$327,000) on the U.S. live video streaming platform Twitch, which suspended its video-on-demand (VOD) service in the country last year. Twitch Interactive Inc., the operator of the service, reduced video quality in South Korea from 1080p to 720p in September 2022 and terminated its VOD service five months later. The Korea Telecommunications Commission (KCC) determined the suspension of the VOD service violated the local telecommunications business law by undermining the interests of users. The commission has requested relevant data to examine whether Twitch had a justifiable reason for limiting the maximum viewing quality, but Twitch turned down the request, citing contractual confidentiality obligations. The KCC also imposed another fine of 15 million won on Twitch for its failure to implement a system to prevent the distribution of illegal footage. The commission did not accept Twitch's claims that liv estreaming and VOD services are not independent telecommunications services and the suspension was a necessary business decision to continue to provide the service in Korea. As part of the corrective measures, the KCC has ordered Twitch to disclose the receipt of these orders and to implement preventive measures before resuming business operations in Korea in the future. Moreover, Twitch has been instructed to prepare various user protection measures, including refunds, as the company is set to conclude its operations in Korea later this month.