South Korean media company Big Hit Entertainment is powering through 2020 in a big way, the company’s founder and chairman-CEO Bang Si-hyuk revealed today (August 13) during a corporate briefing held in Seoul.
Despite the corona pandemic changing touring plans for many artists under Big Hit’s auspices, in the first half of the year the company projected revenue of 294 billion KRW ($244.8 million USD) and 49.7 billion KRW ($41.4 million ) in connected operating profits from music sales, intellectual property (IP) releases, and other Big Hit ventures.
The “Big Hit Ecosytem” is currently made up a multi-label and business system that includes numerous brands and companies, including music labels Big Hit (BTS, TOMORROW X TOGETHER (TXT)), Pledis Entertainment (Seventeen, NU’EST), and Source Music (GFriend). Artists within it had a major year in regard to album sales: Bang announced that artists under the Big Hit multi-label system dominated South Korea’s Gaon album chart, with 40% of all album sales. BTS and Seventeen accumulated 53% of all top 10 sales between their pair of new albums; the former’s Map of the Soul: 7 recorded over 4.26 million albums sold, while the latter’s Hang:garae sold over 1.2 million albums.
Seventeen, who are under the auspices of Pledis Entertainment which was invested in by Big Hit earlier this year, is described by Bang as being poised to mirror BTS’s global rise as a top K-pop group. According to him, the 13-member boy band is seeing growth that mirrors that of superstar septet BTS two or three years ago. He described Seventeen as Big Hit’s “next mega intellectual property [IP].”
Though Bang didn’t announce any specific plans for Seventeen beyond their upcoming digital fanmeet at the end of August, the company has big plans for its artists throughout the rest of 2020: BTS will hold their Map of the Soul ON:E online and offline concert in October and release an album in the end of this year (quarter four), and that same month NU’EST will release a new Japanese album. TXT will also release a new album in the autumn, and a new boyband is currently being produced via the television series I-LAND by BELIFT LAB, a joint venture between Big Hit and CJ E&M.
Beyond 2020, Big Hit is planning to debut a new girl group in 2021, which Bang described as being a “global girl group from diverse backgrounds and languages.”
Along with artistic releases, the briefing also addressed the success of brand collaborations with the likes of Samsung and Starbucks this year, and the launch of and various IPs released by BTS this year – including the launch of the animated TinyTAN BTS counterparts and a graphic lyrics book series. According to Big Hit, it sold 458 IP official products just in the first half of 2020.
The company has many planned-IP releases for the rest of the year, including a Korean language-learning book and courses created in association with the Korea Foundation and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, upcoming games, and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: The Notes 2 on August 25, a sequel to a prior book that continues exploring the literary world of the “BTS Universe” story that permeates throughout BTS’s career.
The corporate briefing comes as Big Hit makes move to go public, with an initial public offering [IPO] in the works. The company recently reportedly passed a preliminary screening to appear on the Korea Exchange, and is now eligible to file a securities registration with the country’s Financial Services Commission.