Recently, it was reported that Big Hit Entertainment is increasing its IT staff.
Home to the global idol group BTS, Big Hit Entertainment has caught the attention of Korean technology companies as they recently hired a great number of IT professionals. Internet business companies such as Naver and Kakao have publically named Big Hit Entertainment as a competitor in light of its upcoming IPO. As entertainment contents become even more popular online, the competition between IT companies and entertainment companies is expected to become fiercer.
According to the IT industry on September 17th, more than 100 employees, who have worked for IT companies in the Pangyo region of Gyeonggi Province, have moved to Big Hit Entertainment. It was also reported that dozens of employees from Naver and Kakao also moved to Big Hit. One personnel explained, "Big Hit Entertainment is hiring IT developers on the condition of a higher salary and the distribution of company shares". Big Hit Entertainment continues to recruit individuals in various IT fields such as app developers and operation managers for the game business.
Previously, Big Hit Entertainment recruited a large number of former executives of IT companies. In May, Big Hit hired Park Ji Won, the former CEO of Nexon Korea, as the CEO of their headquarters to manage the domestic organization. Also, the former CEO of NHN (currently Naver) is working at Big Hit Entertainment. He is in charge of BELIF+, which is the joint venture established by Big Hit Entertainment and CJ ENM to foster Kpop idol groups.
Also, Kim Joong Dong, the former director of VC investment at SV Investments was also hired at Big Hit as the Chief Investment Officer (CIO). Kim Joon Dong had also formerly been in charge of strategic investment and development of new business at Kakao M, a subsidiary of Kakao. Early last year, Cheon Hye Rim, the former Kakao brand art manager also moved to Big Hit Entertainment. She is the mastermind behind the Kakao character 'Ryan'.
Big Hit Entertainment is not simply hiring these professionals just to increase the workforce from IT companies. Previously, Big Hit Entertainment submitted an investment report to the Financial Supervisory Service on September 2nd. They included companies such as Naver and Kakao on their list of comparative companies to calculate their corporate value. Surprisingly, Big Hit Entertainment excluded SM Entertainment, which is among the nation's top three entertainment companies, and instead selected local internet companies among the comparative companies. Big Hit Entertainment explained its investment report that the agency is not just an entertainment company but an IT-based content company. They stated, "There is a possibility that investment in the entertainment business by large internet platform companies such as Naver and Kakao may continue to form a direct competition."
Some analysts state that the competition between Big Hit Entertainment and Internet platform companies has already begun. Lasy year, Naver exclusively broadcasted BTS' concert that took place at Wembley Stadium in London. The content charge fees to view had generated more than 4 billion KRW (~3,413,962 USD) in sales at the time. However, Big Hit released its own online performance platform and fan community app called Weverse. Since then, BTS has increased their contents on Weverse and are slowly decreasing the contents on Naver. In June of this year, more than 750,000 people from 107 countries watched BTS' online concert through the app. Ticket revenue alone amounted to at least 22 billion KRW (~18,77,026 USD). As Naver lost out on the contents of BTS, they have heavily invested in SM Entertainment to secure K-pop content on their platform.
Some in the IT industry state that Big Hit Entertainment's IT capabilities are already at a very high level. beNX, a subsidiary of Big Hit Entertainment develops and operates Weverse. It has more than 40 IT professionals who are working for the company. On July 23rd, there was a high amount of traffic on the app with more than 4 million concurrent users but there was no issue with the program. An entertainment industry source stated, "Big Hit Entertainment considers the singers of its agency as one IP (Intellectual Property) and is using IT to release various digital products". Last year, Big Hit Entertainment released games using BTS as an IP. They previously released a mobile game with Netmarble. On September 24, they will release another BTS based mobile game with Netmarble.