Korea’s CJ ENM seeks to become global IP powerhouse

2023.07.28 10:29:02 | 2023.07.28 10:33:43

ZEROBASEONE [Courtesy of WakeOne]이미지 확대

ZEROBASEONE [Courtesy of WakeOne]

South Korea’s media and entertainment giant CJ ENM Co. will strive to swing back to an operating profit with its intellectual property (IP) in all areas, including music, over-the-top media services, and content distribution.

CJ ENM’s Chief Executive Officer Koo Chang-geun unveiled the company’s management plan for the second half of the year at a townhall meeting on Wednesday. The plan is part of the company’s vision to become a global IP powerhouse by generating profit in the global market with IP ownership.

Ever since Koo took the helm in October last year, CJ ENM has been engaged in efforts to improve its profitability.

Last year, the company’s operating profit fell 53.7 percent to 137.4 billion won ($171.3 million) from a year ago. The industry’s eyes are on whether the company will improve its performance this year, led by its music and media businesses.

“Our job is to create good content in a good production environment and sell it to consumers through the most effective platforms,” Koo said. “Our performance will improve as we continue to focus on core competencies.”

CJ ENM sees its music business as a new cash cow given the global popularity of K-pop. The company plans to develop its labels including Wakeone Co. into global K-pop agencies and beef up its fandom platform Mnet Plus.

It has been discovering new artists by producing Mnet’s K-pop audition program “Produce 101” series. In the second half of this year, the platform will continue to expand its human IP with new talents from programs such as “I-LAND 2” and “Produce 101 Japan Season 3.”

The entertainment giant will also strengthen Wakeone’s competitiveness as a K-pop agency. It plans to build a label that manages from pre-planning to casting, training, production, marketing, and management. Wakeone currently manages idol groups Kep1er, ZEROBASEONE, and TO1, as well as Davichi and Roy Kim.

ZEROBASEONE became a million seller upon its debut on July 10, selling 1.82 million copies of its debut album in the first week of release. It is a nine-member boy group selected through Mnet’s rookie audition show “Boys Planet.”

CJ ENM’s Chief Executive Officer Koo Chang-geun<br><br>[Courtesy of CJ ENM]이미지 확대

CJ ENM’s Chief Executive Officer Koo Chang-geun

[Courtesy of CJ ENM]

The company will also grow its label in Japan, LAPONE Entertainment Co., to discover global IPs in addition to JO1 and INI.

K-pop festival “KCON,” in the meantime, which is held annually in the U.S., Japan, and Thailand, drew a record 123,000 spectators for performance in Japan in May and will continue in Los Angeles, U.S. in August.

OTT platform TVING also stands at the center of CJ ENM’s strategy to take a leap forward.

Koo emphasized Wednesday that TVING is a “core asset of the direct to consumer (D2C) platform business, which is a growth engine for future innovation.”

Analysts note that the remarks came as the platform had been suffering losses and had rumors of a sale or a merger with local online streaming platform Wavve. TVING is expected to optimize content investment and increase profitability under the leadership of recently appointed CEO Choi Joo-hee.

Koo also stressed the importance of strengthening content distribution capabilities. His plan is to maximize revenue through balanced growth of content distribution as well as production, which had been the main focus thus far.

In the first half of this year, overseas sales of the company’s own content increased by 30 percent from last year, and its television channel tvN’s “Jinny’s Kitchen” became the first Korean entertainment program to be aired on global OTT platform Amazon Prime, ranking one of the top 10 in 24 countries.

“While the focus was on producing and selling content in the past, we will increase efficiency in the future by selecting and focusing on IP and diversifying the distribution structure while maintaining our investment in production,” said an official from the company.

The plan is to foster synergy through joint planning between the TV channel and platform, generating profit from greater IP distribution based on preemptive discussion on selection and distribution of globally marketable programs from the planning stage.

By Chung Joo-won and Choi Jieun

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]