SEOUL (KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - South Korean search portal Naver's long-awaited K-pop streaming app V went live on Saturday, with a broadcast featuring hot idol groups iKON and Winner.
The app is designed to enable Korean stars to interact with their fans from around the world in real time. The stars will do both scheduled broadcasts with games and special corners, and spontaneous broadcasts whenever and wherever they want to talk to the fans.
iKON and Winner, the teams who faced off on the television programme WIN: Who Is Next for the privilege of debuting first, competed in a game on the app - this time to win money for a vacation. The members ran around on a Monopoly-style board, completing missions and winning points, on the 60-minute show that was unscripted and unedited.
Although on television Winner had won the right to debut first, iKON emerged victorious on the app after rounds like a staring contest and a crunk dance-off.
Other upcoming highlights are a live performance by mega group BigBang on Aug 4 from 11pm and a live stream of a BTS concert in Thailand on Aug 7 from 10pm.
K-pop acts including Wonder Girls, KARA, miss A and GOT7 have joined the app. So has SMTown, an umbrella brand comprising all 62 acts under the label SM Entertainment, including TVXQ, Super Junior, Shinee, EXO and Girls' Generation.
V is Naver's latest attempt to expand its reach beyond South Korea. Targeting mainly Asian countries where K-pop is popular, such as Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam, the app has features that are entirely in English.
Fans can subscribe to their favourite stars' channels on V to receive alerts when the acts are on air. The app allows viewers to chat with the stars in real time, send "hearts" on the shows they like, and rewatch past broadcasts. The app also features a "chemi-beat" meter that calculates the chemistry between a fan and a star based on their interactions.
V is currently downloadable on Android-based devices only. The service will become available on the iOS platform in mid-August. For more information, visit www.vlive.tv