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Big Hit to launch BTS-themed drama in 2020

By Ahn Sung-mi

  • Published : Aug 21, 2019 - 16:44
  • Updated : Aug 21, 2019 - 16:44

A BTS-themed TV drama will be launched in the second half of 2020, according to Bang Si-hyuk, founder and CEO of BTS’ label Big Hit Entertainment.

“We are preparing to launch a new drama based on BTS’ worldview, in partnership with a major production firm,” Bang announced Wednesday in Seoul during a rare appearance at the company’s presentation titled “Big Hit Corporate Briefing with the Community.”

BTS members will not star in the series; professional actors will be cast instead. The drama will revolve around the “Bangtan Universe,” a fictional universe centering on the band, especially the story of the band’s younger days when the seven members met for the first time.

Chorokbaem Media, one of the biggest production companies here, is partnering with Big Hit for the upcoming drama. The company’s latest TV shows include “My Mister” featuring IU and “Memories of the Alhambra” starring Hyun Bin and Park Shin-hye. Chorokbaem is reportedly investing in the drama with Big Hit to share future profits.

Bang also revealed a new BTS game under development with Netmarble -- which recently rolled out mobile game BTS World.

“(Game) users will be able to experience the ‘Bangtan Universe’ reborn with aesthetic art,” he said, unveiling a concept art teaser of the upcoming game.

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Big Hit Entertainment CEO Bang Si-hyuk. (Big Hit)

In the short clip, the members are on a mission against the backdrop of a destroyed city, with the voice-over saying, “Where is the map of the soul to open the future?” The release date of the game has not been disclosed.

In front of media and business partners, the 14-year-old firm also disclosed its earnings, recent merger deals, business outlook and future plans.

In the first half of the year, its revenue came to 200.1 billion won ($166.73 million), close to last year’s annual revenue. It posted operating profit of 39.1 billion won, two-thirds of 64.1 billion won profit a year ago.

“There have been many changes internally within Big Hit,” said Bang. “Within one year, the employees grew by four times, and in the second half, we are seeking for various structural changes, including implementing a multi-label system. We have set up Belift Lab and also incorporated Source Music into our subsidiary.”

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Poaching longtime SM Entertainment creative director Min Hee-jin -- behind Girls’ Generation, SHINee and Red Velvet -- as Big Hit’s new creative brand officer was part of this move for change, he added.

“Big Hit and Source Music will together hold a global-scale audition. Combining my music (production) and Min’s creative directing, we are excited to debut a new girl group through this audition.”

Emphasizing Big Hit’s ambition to innovate the entire music industry, Bang is out to change the system to expand sales and the market size, as well as improve the ecosystem to improve the lives of those involved in the industry.

As part of this attempt, the firm will focus on improving fans’ experience.

It will offer various ways to purchase merchandise, including online preorders and home delivery, as well as install a “play zone” outside performance venues, which fans can enjoy while waiting for BTS’ concerts.

For those who cannot attend concerts, it will run livestreaming services at a location close to performance venues for fans to watch in a group, or at home via their mobile devices.

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Bang Si-hyuk talks about boy band TXT during the presentation (Big Hit Entertainment)

It plans to launch a pop-up store online for the Seoul concert slated for Oct. 26, 27 and 29.

The company will also implement a lottery system for the sale of concert tickets.

“We understand fans experienced difficulties due to waiting for ticket purchases and illegal ticket sales in the past. In order to improve unfair practices, we introduced the lottery system for BTS’ fan meeting in June and the upcoming Seoul concert in October. We are planning to gradually introduce (the system) for overseas tours in the future,” said co-CEO Yoon Seok-jun.

Bang stressed the importance of Big Hit’s intellectual property as part of its mission to innovate.

“Big Hit’s IP business is not limited to music, but expands into licensing, characters, publications, games and pop-up stores, increasing opportunities for fans to experience,” he said. “From luxury (brands) to popular items, we will create various merchandise by collaborating with best brands in each category, for fans to enjoy all types of lifestyle products.”

Going forward, Big Hit expects to meet more fans through various areas, including webtoons, fiction, games, animations, comic books, dramas and 3D graphic films. “We plan to adopt this storytelling to other artists in our multi-label, not only BTS.” said Bang.

Bang also promised to make more public appearances.

“Recently, Big Hit has made many announcements and a lot of people have been curious about what the firm is up to,” he said. “I admit that I was a bit indifferent to talking about the firm to the public. So from now on, I will share actively about Big Hit, at least two times a year.”

Regarding BTS’ first extended vacation, Bang said the septet is taking a break to plan its next step and vision as creators and artists. “Big Hit is fully supporting the vision they are creating,” he said.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)