South Korea's antitrust regulator said on Sunday it has decided to impose a fine of a combined 19.5 million won ($16,300) on Google, Netflix and three other video streaming services for their unfair business activity over paid subscription.
Five over-the-top (OTT) media service providers -- Google, Netflix, KT, LG Uplus and Content Wavve -- hampered paid subscribers' move to end their membership, according to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).
They provided falsified information or did not allow subscribers to cancel their membership online in a bid to make it difficult for customers to terminate the contract of using their services, according to the FTC.
Along with the fine, the regulator ordered them to correct their business practice, reports Yonhap news agency.
Over 34 per cent of South Koreans were paid subscribers to over-the-top (OTT) media, or video streaming services, according to a survey.
Paid subscribers to OTTs stood at 34.8 per cent last year, up 20.4 percentage points from the previous year, according to a survey of 6,834 people over the age of 13 by the country's media regulator, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC).
South Korea's OTT usage rate rose to 69.5 per cent, compared with 66.3 per cent from the previous year, amid the stay-at-home trend driven by the pandemic
YouTube was the most popular OTT service in South Korea, with its usage rate at 65.5 per cent, followed by Netflix at 24 per cent.
Usage rates for homegrown players Wavve and Tving stood at 4.4 per cent each.
The time subscribers spent on OTT services increased to 80 minutes per day last year, compared with 76 minutes the previous year and 60 minutes in 2019.