Korea’s CJ ENM reveals $4.5bn investment in global content push


South Korean media giant CJ ENM has unveiled plans to invest more than ₩5tn ($4.5bn) in content creation over the next five years in a bid to expand its global presence.

The company, which is behind global hit game show format I Can See Your Voice and Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning thriller Parasite, has already set aside ₩800bn won ($721m) for this year, as part of efforts to turn CJ ENM into an international content creator.

A global competitor

CJ ENM’s CEO Kang Ho-sung said the investment would be used to become a “comprehensive entertainment company” and added that the firm planned to “move on to the world stage and compete with global platforms and media powerhouses.”

To achieve this goal, the company has plans to set up more production studios, which will specialise in variety shows, films and animations, with the content offered to its streaming platform affiliate Tving, as well as global services such as Netflix. The streamer recently unveiled plans to spend $500m in Korea through 2021.

Streaming service Tving, which was founded by CJ ENM but spun off last year, will also play a major role in taking new content to global viewers, with around 100 new shows planned with the aim of securing eight million paid subscribers by 2023.

CJ ENM revealed plans to produce more K-pop competitions shows outside of Korea in a bid to unearth new talent. Last month, the company partnered with Mexico-based Endemol Shine Boomdog for an HBO Max series that follows the creation of a new K-pop band in Latin America.

The company also plans to expand international business partnerships with major content creators in the US, Europe and Asia, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, which first reported the investment.

I Can See Your Voice

Korea’s global wave

The move from the media giant comes as the Korean wave continues to gain momentum worldwide, following the ongoing success of local formats such as The Masked Singer and I Can See Your Voice, which have become global successes.

It also suggests CJ ENM is looking to establish its presence worldwide, having previously struck deals with distributors such as ITV Studios to sell its shows.

CJ ENM acquired European distributor Eccho Rights in late 2018 and more recently appointed Sebastian Kim as its director for content sales & acquisitions. The exec joined in 2007 and was previously the MD at its Hong Kong office, where he oversaw the company’s expansion in South East Asia.

His appointment came just days after news that CJ ENM had sold three dramas produced by its Studio Dragon outfit for broadcast or remake in Japan, Thailand and the Philippines.

CJ ENM is not the only South Korean company making big spending plans to take its content global in recent months.

In March, streaming services Wavve, which was launched by local broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS with the backing of SK Telecom, announced that it is planning to spend almost $900m on new content and establish a studio for originals, as part of a strategy to increase its global activities.

The partners said they will spend ₩1tn ($884m) on expanding the service’s original content by 2025, with largest shareholder SKT providing an additional investment of ₩100bn.

Tags: CJ ENM, Netflix, Tving

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