(2nd LD) Hybe announces highest-ever Q1 performance

Despite its biggest boy group BTS’ pause in group projects due to its members’ military service, the K-pop company behind the group, Hybe, has achieved the biggest first-quarter results in its history, backed by the success of their solo projects.

The company on Tuesday reported an operating profit of 52.5 billion won (US$39.1 million) for the first quarter of 2023, up 41.7 percent from the same period last year, according to a regulatory filing based on tentative calculations.

The company’s sales also rose 44.1 percent year-on-year to 410.6 billion won, while its net profit surged 62.5 percent to 49.8 billion won.

By sector, sales from “direct involvement” by its artists, such as album sales, concert revenue and appearance fees, soared 53.9 percent to 234.5 billion won, with album sales jumping 185.1 percent.

Hybe attributed the surge to the success of BTS member Jimin, who topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 songs chart with the solo song “Like Crazy” last month, along with the sales of 1.27 million copies of previous albums by boy group Seventeen during the period. Robust sales of albums by other K-pop acts, such as NewJeans and Tomorrow X Together (TXT), also contributed to the results, the company added.

During a conference call to announce the first-quarter results, Hybe CEO Park Ji-won said NewJeans, one of the hottest girl groups, will drop a new album in the third quarter of the year and Seventeen will embark on a world tour in the second half of the year with a larger scale than last year’s. Boy group TXT will headline the Lollapalooza 2023 music festival in Chicago this summer, while girl group Le Sserafim will hold a series of concerts in South Korea and Japan in the second half, he added.

“As part of its strategy to expand its reach to different regions and genres, Hybe is making efforts to create a system in which it can continuously produce world-class artists through global labels,” he said. “The U.S. local girl group debut project being prepared by Hybe America and (Universal Music Group) will showcase the diversity of its multi-label system.”

Revenue from the artist indirect involvement sector, which covers merchandising and licensing, rose 32.8 percent to 176.1 billion won, led by a 79.8 percent increase in licensing.

The company’s fan community platform, Weverse, saw its monthly active users increase 10 percent to 9.3 million in the first quarter, while the viewership of its streaming service, Weverse Live, rose 78.3 percent to 460 million views. The streaming service’s average usage time also increased 38.7 percent to 251 minutes per month.

In addition to 12 teams of artists managed by SM Entertainment joining Weverse this year, Hybe said it is also pushing for a plan to have American singers join in the latter half of the year.

It also plans to introduce new membership services, such as Weverse DM for exchanging messages with artists and byFans for designing and ordering products using artists’ photos and handwriting, as well as ads on the platform.

“Through the various activities of BTS members, we were able to increase our interactions with fans, and we will do our best to fill the gap during their military service through solo projects,” Park said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency