South Korean entertainment giants Nexon Korea Corp. and Hybe Co. are leveraging on their game and artist riches to broaden their media and audience outreach.
Nexon listed in Tokyo has become the largest single shareholder of American film studio AGBO founded by “Avengers Endgame” creators through an additional equity purchase of 11.21 percent in the first half of this year, Maeil Business Newspaper learned Sunday.
The $100 million investment in addition to the 38 percent it acquired in January puts Nexon ownership to 49.21 percent in the U.S. film and television company AGBO founded by “Avengers: Endgame” directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.
Nexon has been on a quest to expand its presence overseas by enhancing its own IP in film and TV contents, benchmarking Disney that expanded business from animation to film and games.
Nexon has been keen in recent years to enrich IP coffers while carrying out investments in American toy firm Hasbro Inc., Japan’s game and entertainment firms Konami Holdings Corp. and Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. The company set up Nexon Film & Television in July with a goal to expand existing IP influence and value.
Nexon also scouted talents experts in the entertainment field, such as Nick van Dyk, a former executive at Walt Disney Company who played a key role in Disney’s acquisition of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. At Nexon, Dyk is in responsible for establishing global strategy and carrying out merger and acquisitions. He is expected to play bigger role in strengthening various IPs.
K-pop powerhouse Hybe has turned to IP employment to games and transmedia as it must sustain operations until the return of flagship superstar BTS after the septet takes turns to complete military service in Korea.
Hybe Chairman Bang Si-hyuk on Saturday appeared for a press conference on the sidelines of Korea’s largest annual gaming exhibition G-Star, outlining the company’s plan to promote gaming business for new profit model and become an IP creator.
“When we launched BTS, we only had the goal of trying our best, and many luck followed,” Bang told reporters. “Game industry has big potential.”
Hybe has been diversifying its business focusing on BTS-led music to new sectors like game, webtoon, metaverse, and non-fungible token.
Hybe in 2019 acquired rhythm game developer Superb. It also spun off its game unit Hybe IM early this year. The company also released a self-made mobile game “BTS Island: In the SEOM” in June. Hybe also recruited former Nexon CEO Park Ji-won as new CEO in 2020.
Hybe’s moves are creating a stir in the gaming industry as content manufacturers are accelerating cross-media convergence.
Korean game publisher Com2uS Corp. has recently acquired a 4.2 percent stake in SM Entertainment in a move to integrate its game IP with entertainment sector and advance into new business areas related to NFT and blockchain.
Another gaming entity Smilegate is also introducing video contents like film and drama based on its own game IP. It joined hands with Chinese drama production company Youhug Media in 2020 to create a joint drama CrossFire for starring in China’s biggest over-the-top platform Tencent Videos.
Game developer Krafton Inc. released “Ground Zero” short film last year starring actor Ma Dong-seok and documentary “Mysteries Unknown: Birth of the Battlegrounds.”
Krafton is also making webtoons using its game IP with webtoon creator YLAB.
NCSoft has also launched a new character brand “Doguri” based on a character that appears on “Lineage2M” game.
The IP-based commerce market is also striving as it allows companies to maximize profit from various genres from game, animation to publishing and character business. It can save marketing cost through doubled brand marketing.
By Kim Dae-gi, Ko Min-suh, Hwang Soon-min, and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]