Because of time and financial reasons, there are many people who ‘recharge their batteries’ watching pet videos instead of raising pets. They are 'viewnimal people' who have emerged as a new trend in 2018.
Park Hye Rin, a 22-year-old university student, was really into watching cats eight years ago. She was eager to raise a cat. However, she did not have enough time and money to do so. Instead, she got vicarious satisfaction from taking pictures and videos of cats. Nowadays, she subscribes to a YouTube channel named 'CreamHeroes' which is famous for seven cute cats. Also, she buys things like an echo bag, badge, doll and slippers which are sold for a limited time. Watching a video, sometimes she wants to see cats for herself, so she visits a cats cafe. Entering the cafe with feed, many kinds of cats sit clustered around her. Her love for cats does not stop here. Her Kakao Talk’s profile photo and background photo are all filled with cats pictures. She has six cat emoticons. In addition, when she buys her new cellphone, her primary consideration is the performance of her camera for taking great cat pictures.
Park is a representative one of the viewnimal people. The 'viewnimal' is a compound word which took its name from 'view' and 'animal.' They are people who do not raise pets for various reasons (not enough time, expenses), but they are spending their time and money for pet culture, which is a so-called culture of consumption. They enjoy videos and pictures of pets via an online platform. For example, the famous thing is subscribing to YouTube channels. The most popular YouTube pet channel in Korea is the CreamHeroes. In that channel, seven cats are shown. More than 700,000 people subscribe this channel. The channel has 211,842,682 views as of March 3rd, 2018. Watching their videos, viewnimal people sometimes send pet gifts such as toys and snacks.
Besides videos, there are many pet lovers cafes like C.L.C. (cat lovers cafe), H.L.C. (hamster lovers cafe) and KakaoTalk open chat. The name of KaKaoTalk open chat mainly includes 'lonely' and pet types like 'lonely cats.' Like the name of the chat room, people only post animal pictures without words. If someone initiates a conversation, that person will be removed.
Recently, the production and sales of goods in the form of crowdfunding are increasing. When you enter the crowdfunding websites, you can find various goods like characterized badges, water bottles, socks, clothes, cell phone cases and calendars. Part of the profit will be donated to animal rights groups or animal-related organizations.
The game market size for viewnimal people is also going through an expansion. The virtual raising pet games on Google Play Store are now over one hundred. Game companies are improving the quality of games better reflecting an animal’s characteristics to make the games more realistic. In the real world, animal cafes have become particularly popular. There are many cafes not only for cats and dogs but also for rare animal cafes like raccoons and flying squirrels.
Then what is it that lies beneath the spreading this newly made word and new subcultures? The reason is that the advancements in communication technology, expansion of the pet market and individualism in a harsh world. Human relationships are expendable. For human relations, people may spend a lot of time and money. Also, there are many conflicts. Viewnimal people spend less time and money whenever they want to see animals.
Viewnimal people. It becomes a new pet culture to the present day. However, a controversy arises which is the commercialization of animals and the tendency to avoid responsibility. Increasingly viewnimal people will be a challenge that we need to think more about.