South Korean entertainment and game labels are vying heavily to leverage on the global fandom base for K-pop.
Hybe - the label behind global K-pop sensation BTS - recently revamped its fandom platform “Weverse” to incorporate V LIVE, a live video streaming service for K-pop stars, which the company acquired for 200 billion won ($149 million) from Naver.
Fandom platforms refer to paid membership services that allow K-pop stars to directly communicate with fans and have risen as revenue channel for media contents operators through faster access to global consumers by capitalizing on their devotion to stars.
Gaming companies have also begun actively employing fandom platforms to grow as comprehensive intellectual property (IP) companies.
Neowiz – a domestic mid-tier game publisher - launched its own fandom platform “Celeb Champ” in July with popular trot stars such as Lim Young-woong and Hong Jin-young that have devoted fan base from the elder generation.
Entertainment and gaming companies are also looking for ways to incorporate NFTs into fandom platforms.
Gaming giant NCSoft released NFT products such as photo cards of K-pop artists with blockchain company Ground X.
Hybe is planning to create a joint NFT venture with Dunamu, a blockchain-based fintech startup, to establish a profit model with NFTs for writings and artworks created by K-pop fans.
But some accuse companies of taking advantage of fandom platforms to make money as they are originally designed for communication between stars and fans.
By Kim Dae-eun and Susan Lee
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]