BTS Backer HYBE Books 21% Profit Growth as Industry Recovery Continues

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HYBE, the management firm behind Korean pop sensation BTS, booked a 21% increase in net profits in the three months to June 2021 and said that its artists had returned to “full-fledged” activities following the coronavirus hiatus.

Previously known as Big Hit Entertainment, the firm reported a year-on-year increase of 56% in sales, which reached KRW279 billion ($244 million). Operating profits increased by 23%, while net after tax profits increased to KRW17.2 billion ($15.1 million) in the three-month period. It revealed costs of KRW10 billion ($8.76 million) incurred in April relating to the acquisition of U.S. talent firm Ithaca Holdings, which represents Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber among its headline acts.

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Album sales rose by 96% to KRW107 billion ($93.7 million) due to new releases from BTS, Tomorrow X Together and Seventeen. Content sales surged by 146% to KRW 91.3 billion ($79.9 million) due to the success of BTS’ online fan meeting in June, HYBE reported. Revenue earned from advertisements, artist appearance fees, and management increased by 77% quarter-on-quarter to KRW 21.6 billion ($19.2 million).

Online fan platform, Weverse grew its monthly active user base (MAU) by 9% to 5.3 million users. They also spent more through the platform. Average monthly payment per purchasing user increases by more than 50%. HYBE did not disclose whether Weverse is currently profitable.

At a conference call held after the results announcement, management returned to the theme of international expansion, saying that it will boost staff at its major hubs in Korea, the U.S., and Japan.

“Considering the carryover product sales from Q2 and active promotions of our key artists, we are expecting significant increases in sales and operating profits in H2 year-on-year.” He added, “We will continue to explore new business opportunities through competition and collaboration in all aspects of a music-based entertainment lifestyle,” said HYBE CEO Jiwon Park in a prepared statement.

HYBE launched its shares on the KOSPI stock market in Korea in October last year at KRW135,000 apiece. The stock almost doubled on opening day, lost ground in the following four months before recovering strongly. The shares edged ahead by 1% to KRW298,500 on Thursday.

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