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By Jun Ji-hye
Google's YouTube is posing a threat to Korea's largest portal Naver as more and more Koreans use the popular online video streaming site as a primary tool for searching information on the internet, a survey showed Friday.
Nasmedia, KT's digital media lab, said its findings showed 60 percent of Korean internet users use YouTube when searching for information, noting YouTube's influence has appeared to have expanded to the search field beyond the video content service.
Nasmedia surveyed 2,000 PC and mobile internet users, analyzing their service use and acceptance behaviors.
Naver still maintained the top position as a search engine, with 92.4 percent of respondents selecting the portal as their favorite search engine.
But Naver's share in the domestic internet search market can fall if YouTube's popularity continues.
Nasmedia noted the utilization of YouTube as a search engine is expected to expand steadily especially among the young generation.
In the survey, seven out of 10 teenagers said they obtain information from YouTube.
"YouTube's influence is expected to be enhanced as an information search channel, and this will lead to more cut-throat competition between relevant business operators," said Lee Ji-young in charge of business strategy at Nasmedia.
Meanwhile, 56 percent of respondents said they use Google as their major search engine, while 37.6 percent and 27.1 percent said they use Daum and Instagram, respectively, to search for information they need.
A 33-year-old office worker in Seoul said he used Naver previously to search for information in most situations, but has recently moved to YouTube to do so.
"I obtain a variety of information from YouTube including news and recipes," he said. "When I bought a chair at IKEA, I also utilized YouTube to learn how to assemble it. It was easier to learn as I could see an assembly method through video clips."
The findings by Nasmedia also showed that the usage rate of online video content has been increasing continuously from 87.7 percent in 2017 to 91.9 percent in 2018 to 95.4 percent this year.
Among those, 64.8 percent said they consume video content with their mobile phones.
"YouTube is expected to lead an increase in the use of online video content through mobile phones," Lee said.
Nasmedia said a user watches video clips through mobile phones for 75 minutes per day on average. This accounted for 45.5 percent of a user's entire mobile internet use time.
Nasmedia added that a teenager watches video clips on mobile devices for more than 120 minutes per day on average, compared to 100 minutes for those in their 20s and 60 minutes for those over 30.