The partnership of Bang Jun-hyuk, the chairman of Netmarble and Bang Shi-hyuk, the CEO of Big Hit Entertainment, is drawing attention of the game and entertainment industry.
Netmarble recently announced that it would invest 201.4 billion won in Big Hit Entertainment, secure 25.71% (448,882 shares), and become the second largest shareholder. Netmarble is the top player in the domestic game industry, and Big Hit Entertainment is well-known as an entertainment agency that produced the sensational idol group, BTS.
What is the background of the two joining hands? For years, the two have been thinking about ways to launch new services using the intellectual property (IP) of games and K-pop music owned by both companies. For example, during his meeting with reporters in February, chairman Bang Jun-hyuk presented the realistic cinematic game “BTS World,” which utilizes the video images and pictures of BTS. It is a simulation game that allows users to raise the members of BTS.
"Netmarble is likely to use BTS World as an entertainment platform," said Kim Min-jeong, an analyst in HI investment & securities. "They will seek to enhance the marketing power at home and abroad based on the IP power of BTS."
Chairman Bang Jun-hyuk and CEO Bang Shi-hyuk are known as relatives, with the former 4 years older than the latter. Being relatives, their paths have been very different.
The difference starts from family background. Chairman Bang Jun-hyuk grew up in a poor family and ended up quitting high school. He worked for a small company to make money and then started running his own business to make his dream come true. After a couple of failure, he established Netmarble in 2000 with eight employees and 100 million won in capital.
On the other hand, CEO Bang Shi-hyuk, an esthetics major in Seoul National University, has been walking on the smooth path. He liked the British pop band Duran Duran as a child and started playing music in a band in middle school. In 1994 when he was a college student, he was awarded at Yoo Jae-ha Music Award, which discovers emotional folk music singer-songwriters. JYP Entertainment Producer Park Jin-young, who happened to listen to a demo tape recording of his songs, scouted Bang Shi-hyuk in 1997. Since then, he became a well-known music composer and producer in the pop music world. He has built a reputation as a popular composer with hit songs such as “Sky Blue Balloons” of god, “As I Have a Gun Shot” and “Candy in My Ears” of Baek Ji-young, and “‘Bad Guy” of Rain. After solidifying his position, he left JYP in 2005 and established Big Hit Entertainment.
Though their background was different, they had similarities. Both chairman Bang Jun-hyuk and CEO Bang Shi-hyuk overcame difficulties in the competitive game and entertainment industry and built representative companies in Korea.
After establishing Netmarble, Bang Jun-hyuk’s mind was complicated. As the internet became widespread and a lot of online games were released, he thought it would be hard to be competitive just with regular games. He eventually presented a new business model called online game publishing. It is a structure in which game development is done externally with Netmarble taking care of game distribution, marketing, and funding. Profits are shared among everyone involved. The chairman succeeded in publishing online games such as “Laghaim” and “Grand Chase” at that time. While improving the game distribution structure, the company tried charging for most of its online games. It could improve profitability and stabilize the company. It secured 10 million members in just one year.
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