10 Facts About Gongbang, The YouTube Study Sessions That Originated From S.Korea & Are Going Viral Worldwide

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If you’re a frequent user of the Internet, which I’m going to assume you are, you’ll know that the world wide web isn’t exactly lacking in the bizarre trends department.

Remember Planking? No, I’m not talking about planks, the core strength exercise. I’m talking about the 2011 fad where people laid down in a face-down position in unusual locations because, for some inexplicable reason, they thought it was funny.

Since then, we’ve watched people ingesting cinnamon, eating large amounts of food, and people, uh, typing on a keyboard.

But the latest craze sweeping the interweb doesn’t involve any health risks nor does it have much sound.

Why? Because you’re literally watching someone study.

Here are 10 facts about Gongbang, the new internet trend that will leave you scratching your head and reaching for the textbook.

So… What The Heck is Gongbang?

First, what does the name mean?

According to YahooGongbang is a portmanteau of the Korean words “gongbu bangsong”, which means “study broadcast”.

And, that’s exactly what it is: a broadcast of someone studying.

These students live-stream themselves studying for hours on end, and sometimes in near-complete silence.

It Started With One Student Who Wanted to Show His Parents He Was Studying

According to South China Morning Postthe trend is believed to have started after a South Korean student filmed himself studying to prove to his parents he was actually preparing for his exams.

Little did he know, his desire to please his parents would trigger a new and rather mundane craze.

It Originated in South Korea, But Has Since Spread to Other Countries

Many South Korean students study up to 16 hours a day to prepare for their entrance examinations, which is likely why the trend originated there.

Since then, the fad has spread to other countries including the US, Japan, the UK and India.

One medical student in Nagpur, India, Anuj Pachhel, broadcasts his study sessions and has over 200,000 subscribers on YouTube.

People Watch It For Motivation & Relaxation 

At this point, you’re probably wondering: why in the blue biscuits do people watch other people studying?


Well, there are a few reasons.

For some, it provides motivation. If these streamers can be so focused on their studies, why can’t I be too?

Others watch these videos because it makes them feel like they’re studying with someone else – a virtual study buddy, if you will.

And then there are those who aren’t studying, but watch the videos anyway for relaxation, presumably because it’s very quiet.

If that were the case, wouldn’t staring at a wall be adequate? 

Gongbang Channels Have Increased in Popularity During the Pandemic

Much like face masks and Netflix-binges, Gongbang channels have skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic.

How much can you earn from delivering food with foodpanda in Singapore? We tried it out for you, and the amount is apparently not what we’ve expected:

That’s presumably because students have had no real excuse not to study when they were stuck in their rooms for 24 hours a day.

This may also be attributed to the fact that many schools have been forced to shift their classes online, and students may have got used to learning with their friends on Zoom.

Many Gongbang Streamers Utilise the Pomodoro Technique

Another reason why these videos are popular is because the streamers are efficient students who utilise effective studying techniques.


One such technique is the Pomodoro Technique – a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.

With this technique, students split up their study periods in short, intense bursts, and incorporate short periods of rest in between.

Some Gongbang Videos Have Garnered Hundreds of Thousands of Views

Given that it’s a niche genre, you’d expect it to have a small following, but many of these videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

In fact, one such video uploaded by TheStriveToFit has been viewed over 940,000 times.


Many people are in dire need of a study buddy, it seems.

Some Gongbang Streamers Incorporate ASMR Elements

As you can imagine, watching someone stare at a textbook for 2 hours can be a little dull.

That’s why some Gongbang streamers have incorporated ASMR elements into their videos.

Jamie from TheStriveToFit, for example, adds some of the natural sounds involved in studying in her videos, such as the scratching of her pencil on paper.

Gongbang Streamers Don’t Usually Connect With Their Audience

According to SCMP, it’s unusual for Gongbang streamers to connect with their audience.


Some streamers don’t even reveal their identities while live-streaming, as the video is focused on their note-taking and page-flipping.

It’d be like having a study buddy with no face or torso. Just hands.

Gongbang Streamers Might Have to Come Up With Other Content

Now, unless you’re a psychopath, you probably don’t have exams every month of the year.

So, if you’re a Gongbang streamer, what the heck are you going to do once exams end?

This streamers, if they want to keep getting lots of views and earning the big YouTube bucks, will probably have to come up with other content.


In the meantime, I’m going to live-stream myself thinking about what sort of content I can create to become a millionaire on YouTube and see if it takes off.

Featured Image: dodotone / Shutterstock.com

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