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Seventeen, V, NewJeans drive record Q3 profit for HYBE

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HYBE's headquarters in Yongsan District, central Seoul [YONHAP]
HYBE’s headquarters in Yongsan District, central Seoul [YONHAP]

HYBE, the K-pop agency behind BTS, posted expectation-beating earnings for the third quarter, driven by strong album and ticket sales.

HYBE attributed the upbeat quarterly result to the strong performances of its own artists, such as V of BTS, as well as acts managed by its affiliate labels, including Seventeen, which is under Pledis Entertainment, and New Jeans under ADOR.

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The entertainment powerhouse posted 72.7 billion won ($54.2 million) in operating profit for the third quarter, which is an increase of 20 percent from the same period last year.

The figure beat market tracker FnGuide’s 64.3 billion won analyst forecast.

Quarterly sales for the July-September period rose 20.7 percent to 537.9 billion won, which beat the market expectation of 509.6 billion won.

Net profit came in at 98.6 billion won, up 5.9 percent from a year earlier, exceeding the forecast of 64.3 billion won.

The operating and sales figures are a record for HYBE’s third-quarter earnings results so far, according to the company.

Of the 537.9-billion-won sales, businesses directly involving artists’ engagement such as album, concert, and advertisement deals generated 382.4 billion won. Album sales, in particular, earned HYBE 264.1 billion won, up 104 percent from the same period last year. Concert revenue rose 84 percent on year to 86.9 billion won.

V’s first solo album, “Layover,” sold 2.1 million copies in the first week of its September release, making the singer the first Korean solo artist to hit the two-million mark.

The 13-member boy band Seventeen sold more than 11 million album copies in the first nine months of 2023.

Other businesses, such as goods sales, licensing deals, content releases and fan club membership fees, generated 155.4 billion won. That figure includes sales of Seventeen’s and Enhyphen’s tour merchandise, as well as BTS’ official book, “Behind the Story,” which was published to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the band’s debut.

Fan community platform Weverse saw a 10 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in average monthly active users (to 10.5 million) in the July-September period, as SM Entertainment’s K-pop artists joined the service.

“HYBE is pursuing continuous expansion via not only inorganic growth involving merger and acquisition, but also organic growth through the audition program ‘The Debut: Dream Academy,’ and more,” said a HYBE spokesperson in a release.

All seven members of BTS renewed their contracts with HYBE in September. The megaband will resume group activities in 2025 after the members complete their mandatory military service. BTS will commemorate the 10th anniversary of its “The Most Beautiful Moment In Life” album series that year, according to the agency.

HYBE’s share price closed at 227,500 won on the main Kospi bourse on Thursday, down 1.3 percent from the previous trading day.

BY SHIN HA-NEE, PARK EUN-JEE [shin.hanee@joongang.co.kr]