Five Korean leaders in the entertainment industry named on Variety 500 list
Leaders of Korea's entertainment industry have been listed on the Variety 500, an index of the 500 most influential business leaders shaping the global media industry, including Bang Si-hyuk, chairman and CEO of BTS's agency Big Hit Entertainment; Lee Soo-man, founder and chairman of SM Entertainment; CJ CGV Vice Chairman Lee Mi-kyung; director Bong Joon-ho; and Korean Film Council (Kofic) Chairman Oh Seok-geun.
Variety 500 revealed its list of honors on Dec. 23, outlining the feats of business leaders around the world. This year's list included Korea's Bang and Lee in the K-pop industry, along with Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Apple CEO Tim Cook.
In the film industry, Lee and Bong were chosen for the success of 2019 black comedy drama film "Parasite," and Oh for endeavoring to bring Korean film into global mainstream throughout the years.
"If you don’t know Korean boy band BTS, where’ve you been?" asked Variety, explaining Bang and BTS's feat.
"Bang is no one-act showman," said Variety. "He’s been pushing hard toward diversification, moving into tech with apps like Weverse as well as acquisitions Pledis, Source Music and game firm Superb.
"In the first half of 2020, 40 percent of sales from South Korea’s top 100 albums belong to Big Hit artists, and its October IPO notched a valuation of $840 million."
Bang has had a successful year along with BTS, being listed on the 2020 Billboard Power List and the 2020 Billboard Indie Power Players this year. He was also given the Innovation Award by the Pony Chung Foundation.
SM's Lee was chosen for the fourth consecutive year, the first for any Korean. He was applauded once again for his work establishing the foundation of K-pop and was acknowledged as "the father of K-pop."
"Lee enjoyed success with the 1996 launch of boy band H.O.T., which spawned powerful imitators (notably JYP and YG Entertainment)," Variety said.
"While the spotlight these days is on Big Hit Entertainment-managed BTS, Lee's SuperM, dubbed the Avengers of K-pop, is built around seven established multinational acts, and so the father of K-pop remains highly influential."
CJ's Lee was honored as having "produced a string of films by homegrown Korean auteurs, including Park Chan-wook ['Oldboy,' 'The Handmaiden'], as well as Bong ['The Host,' 'Snowpiercer']," while Bong was praised for the creation of Canne-winning "Parasite."
"Known for weaving social issues into personal drama, Bong has been an icon of Korean cinema since the charming but troubling Memories of Murder' in 2003," Variety said.
"He was also named one of Time's '100 Most Influential People of 2020.'"
Oh was recognized for Kofic's online ticket-booking system for independent theaters and launching Indie Ground, an initiative operated by the Association of Korean Independent Film & Video to provide distribution and networking support for independent filmmakers.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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