Naver invests 100 billion won in SM Entertainment Group
Naver has invested 100 billion won ($84 million) in SM Entertainment Group, the largest K-pop agency in the country.
Naver’s investment will go into SM Entertainment Group affiliates SMEJ Plus and Mystic Story, as well as a fund jointly created between the two companies. The portal site made it clear that it did not directly acquire stock in the entertainment agency.
Naver has previously invested 100 billion won in YG Entertainment in 2017, of which half went into a joint fund and half on a 9 percent stake in the company.
The investment between Naver and SM is aimed at expanding cooperation between the two on K-pop video content, among other business opportunities, the two companies said in separate statements. They signed a partnership agreement in April this year for the same purpose.
SM Entertainment is the agency of some of the biggest names in K-pop, including BoA, TVXQ, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, f(x), EXO and Red Velvet.
Naver has been expanding its K-pop content. V Live, a platform where K-pop stars upload videos of their daily lives to communicate with fans, is now one of the company's fastest growing services in terms of overseas users. Eighty percent of V Live users are located outside Korea.
The company sought to monetize the platform last year, launching a paid membership service called “Fanship.” It is close to an online fan community that offers exclusive opportunities like early-bird concert tickets and invitations to offline events.
“Apart from the investment, Naver will set out technical support for live streaming and fan communities to expand V Live’s Fanship service and to develop the next video business,” Naver said in a statement.
Under the partnership, SM Entertainment will offer all of its online fan club services exclusively through Naver’s Fanship, the agency said.
The two companies also plan to cooperate in developing content with its artists, including online concerts. Another possible project hinted at in their press release was a video streaming service specializing in music.
Rumors that Naver would be acquiring shares or investing in SM first spread in mid-July when discussions of the deal were ongoing.
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [firstname.lastname@example.org]