SM Entertainment, the K-pop agency behind NCT Dream, aespa and SuperM, has teamed up with British TV production company Moon&Back Media for a new project to create and introduce a British boy band to a global audience.
In what the companies described as a “first-of-its-kind partnership” between South Korea and the UK, the pair will launch a TV show produced by Moon&Back that brings together K-Pop and international TV production to discover “the next global boy sensation. “
SM Entertainment has launched over a dozen globally successful pop groups such as NCT, aespa, SuperM, Red Velvet, RIIZE, and more, while Moon&Back is the brainchild of multi-BAFTA award-winning producer Nigel Hall (Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor, One Direction), UK media executive Dawn Airey (C4, C5, ITV, Sky, Getty Images) and talent manager Russ Lindsay (Ant & Dec, Simon Cowell).
The founders of Moon&Back have been launching talent, creating IP and producing and commissioning television shows globally for over three decades. Earlier this year, Moon&Back secured an investment from Los Angeles-based Asylum Entertainment Group.
The series will be led by an executive team including industry executives such as Ben Carter (known for his work with The Script, Westlife and Taylor Swift), James McKinley (acclaimed producer and Emmy-nominated showrunner of X factor and America is looking for talent) and BAFTA-winning executive producer David Hall (behind shows like Deal or no deal, The Chase, and The greatest dancer).
The TV series will document the journey of an up-and-coming boy band over the course of six months, starting their adventure from London in early 2024. Pre-production has begun and the series will be filmed in the UK and South Korea.
“This collaboration marks our first footprint in Europe. Our expansion plan will continue to cover the Americas, Europe and other key markets, leveraging SM Entertainment’s massive artist roster and extensive networks for unprecedented synergies going forward.”
Joseph Chang, SM & Kakao Entertainment America
The development comes as SM Entertainment plans to expand its reach into global markets, including Europe, after launching an integrated North American division with its shareholder Kakao Corp. earlier this year.
Commenting on their UK project, Joseph Chang, CEO of SM & Kakao Entertainment America, said: “This collaboration marks our first footprint in Europe.”
Chang added, “Our expansion plan will continue to cover North and South America, Europe and other key markets, leveraging SM Entertainment’s huge artist roster and extensive networks for unprecedented synergies going forward. We are thrilled to be partnering with power players who were critical to the creation and success of One Direction, and together we aim to discover the next global sensation.”
Dawn Airey, co-founder of Moon&Back commented, “Take one of the best entertainment producers in the world and combine him with the best K-Pop producer in the world and watch the magic happen. It’s a world first, creating a British boy band and exposing them to the wonders and rigors of the premium K-Pop process with SM Entertainment. This alchemy will create compelling television and a boy band that will entertain the world.”
It’s a world first, creating a British boy band and exposing them to the wonders and rigors of the premium K-Pop process with SM Entertainment. This alchemy will create compelling television and a boy band that will entertain the world.”
Dawn Airey, Moon&Back
As the companies prepare to shoot, discussions with major broadcasters, record labels and music publishers are already underway.
Creating K-Pop groups through TV shows is a common practice in the South Korean music industry. Often referred to as “idol survival shows”, these shows follow a format where individuals, often aspiring singers or trainees, compete against each other through various challenges to earn a spot in a new idol group.
Groups created through these shows have gained significant popularity in South Korea and internationally, including NCT Dream, Pentagon, TWICE, SEVENTEEN, Momoland, and Monsta X.
SM rival HYBE partnered with Geffen/Universal Music Group to Globalize ‘K-pop Methodology’ with Launch of ‘Global Girl Group’ Auditions.
Elsewhere, SM Entertainment recently revealed plans to expand its search for songwriting talent globally after posting its highest ever quarterly revenue and profit in the third quarter.
“We are pursuing various collaborations with local and foreign publishers…Globally, we plan to actively recruit foreign writers who wish to advance in K-pop by establishing overseas subsidiaries,” CEO Jang Cheol Hyuk said during on the company’s recent call to investors.
“In addition, we plan to internalize royalties and sell music to outside labels and agencies in the future, which will serve as another new revenue stream for SM Entertainment.”
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