Man at His Best

North Korea Launches Its Own Streaming Service

Manbang isnít porn, itís the name of DPRKís Netflix.

BY Jason S Ganesan | Aug 22, 2016 | Culture

Wikipedia Commons

It’s never cool to make fun of words having different meanings in other languages (who are we kidding, it’s hilarious). But in North Korea’s fervour to have their own weird, Kim-approved mutations of stuff everyone else considers normal, they’ve named their own video streaming service Manbang.

It isn’t porn, obviously (unless you consider watching documentaries on the glory of juche stimulating, in which case don’t let the haters get you down). Korean Central Television’s Manbang will work like any other internet streaming box, where those with net access can watch TV shows at their leisure.

DPRK actually does have more than one TV station (it has five), but foreign broadcasts are banned. And their TV shows are not all rigid documentaries either—KCTV’s schedule shows TV in DPRK is just like ours used to be, with children’s shows in the afternoon, some low rent state propaganda documentaries in the evening, and dramas at prime time. Like this one, which Google translates as Bachira Self.

As for who actually has internet access in DPRK, social stratification in the country is much like it is everywhere else in the world—with those working administrative jobs getting to shop in malls and drink fancy coffees, and those who do manual labour in mines, farms and factories firmly entrenched in chronic poverty.

The only difference being that the working class—on account of probably not being able to afford a Manbang—will be spared from watching state propaganda on loop.