SM is closing its entertainment academy which discovered idols like Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and YoonA, and DBSK’s Changmin.
On October 21, according to officials at IB, an investment bank, SM has proceeded with closing down Starlight, an affiliate of SM that is in charge of operating the SM Academy.
SM Academy, located in Sinsa-dong, has been closed since the 31st of this past August. The number of students who have gone through this academy numbers about 2000. Officials at SM said, “We’re closing the academy to make new preparations for the changes that the entertainment industry is going through. In order to increase our global competence, we’re planning on creating a sort of global training center in the future.”
Starlight was a company that specialized in entertainment, and was established in January of 2003 in order to train internationally competitive entertainers. They provided courses in composition, singing, acting, management, and more for aspiring entertainers.
Below is a list of some current celebrities that graduated from this academy:
- Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation)
- YoonA (Girls’ Generation)
- Changmin (DBSK)
- Siwon (Super Junior)
- Kim Heechul (Super Junior)
- Yesung (Super Junior)
- Onew (SHINee)
- Kai (EXO)
- G.O. (MBLAQ)
- Heo Ga Yoon (4minute)
- Lee Sung Yeol (Infinite)
- Raina (After School)
- Go Ara
- Kim Min Ji
- Go Kyoung Pyo
- Baek Ah Yeon
While Starlight continuously grew after its establishment, its growth plateaued a few years ago. In 2005, the net profit was approximately 30,000,000 won (~$28,000), the next year over three times the amount of 90,000,000 won, and in 2008, 300,000,000 won (~$280,000). The net profit grew even more in following years until 2011, when it decreased. Last year, Starlight marked a deficit of 60,000,000 won (~$56,500).
Officials at IB stated, “In the past, there were many cases in which people debuted after graduating from a major agency’s entertainment academy. However, since the popularization of audition programs and publicized auditions, and an increase in opportunities for debut, the academies of major entertainment agencies have lost a lot of their value.”
On the other hand, some entertainment companies are jumping into the academy business. CNBlue’s agency, FNC Entertainment, through its subsidiary FNC Academy, is running an entertainment academy. They currently have a Hongdae and Gangnam branch, and will open an academy in Daegu in June.
Polaris Entertainment, representing artists such as Kim Bum Soo, Rumblefish, Ivy, and Yang Dong Geun, has started an academy business with CJ E&M. They each invested for half, establishing the joint Polaris Mnet last year, and are running an academy in Sinsa-dong in Seoul. Singer Kim Bum Soo is currently the vice president of M Academy.
SidusHQ (iHQ) is also currently running the C.A.S.T. Acting Academy in Nonhyeon-dong in Seoul.
-edited for accuracy