Co-CEO Of SM Entertainment Talks About The Agency’s Plans For 2019 And 2020

Earlier this summer, one of SM Entertainment’s major shareholders, KB Asset Management, sent a letter to the entertainment agency requesting some changes to their shareholder return policies and business models.

SM Entertainment responded by rejecting some of the requests and putting others under consideration. Since then, other shareholders like Korea Investment Management Co Ltd and Mirae Asset Global Investments Co Ltd have joined KB Asset Management to put pressure on SM Entertainment.

SM Entertainment’s co-CEO, Kim Young Min, recently gave an interview with The Korea Economic Daily about SM Entertainment’s dispute with its shareholders, as well as the agency’s plans for 2020 and the rest of 2019.

Kim Young Min reaffirmed SM’s decision not to merge with Lee Soo Man’s personal company, Like Planning, and said that even though it looked like SM was paying Like Planning a lot of money, it was only five to eight percent of SM’s production costs. He also stated that SM Entertainment has been able to achieve good results globally due to its contract with Like Planning.

“Producing isn’t limited only to music,” Kim Young Min said. “Lee [Soo Man] is a pioneer who realized his vision of an entertainment agency that stands at the center of the current idol industry. He chooses the songs, hunts for new talent, and participates in areas like choreography, styling, and even how idols greet fans on stage.”

Kim Young Min was also asked about affiliated businesses that were running at a loss, including a restaurant, resort, and winery. He replied, “The culture industry, the food and beverage industry, the travel industry, and the tourism industry work together in synergy. That being said, we cannot keep accumulating losses in business. We’ve come up with an improvement plan to revive the restaurant franchise and we are integrating the various lifestyle businesses that we’re affiliated with into one company. We are taking specific steps to prevent more losses. If we cannot achieve our goals by the end of next year at the latest, and it’s determined that revival is not possible, then we will do what we need to do.”

The reporter for The Korea Economic Daily noted that SM’s results for the second quarter had not been very good and asked about the agency’s plans for the end of this year and next year.

Kim Young Min replied, “Our company’s projects are mostly centered around the second half of this year. In the first half of this year, we sold about 1.27 million albums, but we surpassed that figure in July and August alone. When EXO, NCT, and Red Velvet release studio albums in the second half of this year, there will be no problems seeing an increase in annual album sales. We also plan to release a new boy group and a new girl group next year.”

Kim Young Min also briefly mentioned political tensions between Japan and Korea and said, “Our sales in Japan are about 15-20 percent of our total. Most of that is from concerts, and we do not plan to change any of our concert plans that we already have made for this year. No one has talked about canceling them yet. But if relations between Japan and Korea keep getting worse, then it is possible that we will be negatively affected.”

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