K-pop giant SM Entertainment generated $152m in Q1 revenues, up 20.3% YoY

Credit: Press

South Korea-based entertainment giant SM Entertainment reported a 20.3% year-over-year jump in first-quarter revenues to 203.9 billion South Korean won (approx. USD $152 million).

The growth was driven by a significant growth in revenue from concerts and a sustained increase in revenue from its artists’ appearances on TVs, advertisements and events, offsetting the drop in revenue from album sales and digital music.

That’s according to investor filings published by the company on Thursday (May 11).

SM’s roster of artists include K-Pop stars like SUPER JUNIOR, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, EXO, Red Velvet, KANGTA, BoA, TVXQ!, NCT and aespa.

In the three months ended March 30, SM’s revenue from concerts skyrocketed 2,643% YoY to 19.2 billion South Korean won ($14.3m) from 700 million South Korean won ($523,000) following the resumption of live events post-pandemic (see below).

In the three months ended March 30, a total of 55 concerts were staged by SM artists, versus zero in the year-ago period.

The company’s artists have at least 59 concerts lined up in the second quarter including Red Velvet’s R to V world tour, aespa’s HYPER LINE tour and the Super Junior World Tour. 

‘Concerts’ were SM’s third-largest source of revenue behind albums and digital music, and ‘MD/Licensing.’

SM’s revenue from its MD/Licensing unit jumped 67.4% YoY to 29.3 billion South Korean won ($21m), versus 17.5 billion South Korean won ($13m) in Q1 2022.

Revenue from TV, ad and events appearances edged up 16.1% to 18 billion South Korean won ($13.4m) from 15.5 billion South Korean won ($11.5m) last year, which the company attributed to an increase in ad appearances.

SM artists recently appeared on ads such as the 2023 FAI World Drone Racing Championship in Namwon, the Visit Busan Pass ad, the PICO 4 campaign and on other ads by SK affiliates such as SKT, NEPA and K-Car.

Meanwhile, revenue from the company’s ‘Album/Digital Music’ segment slipped 6.1% to 59.6 billion South Korean won ($44.53m) from 63.5 billion South Korean won ($47.4m) in the year-ago period, leading to a 6.3 percentage-point drop in the company’s operating profit margin to 18.7%.

SM said its OP margin also narrowed due to the reverse base effect of royalty revenue reflection in the first quarter of 2022. 

Overall, the company’s operating profit tumbled 21.2% YoY to 19.5 billion South Korean won ($14.5bn) from 24.7 billion South Korean won, with net income sliding 9.7% to 18.7 billion South Korean won ($13.9m) from 20.8 billion South Korean won ($15.5m).

SM also provided the financial performance of its various subsidiaries including live entertainment unit Dreammaker, which reported a 431.4% YoY jump in Q1 revenue to 22.3 billion won, owing to the resumption of offline concerts.

The quarterly report marks the first since internet company Kakao Corp. took control of SM in March following a lengthy takeover battle against SM rival HYBE. Kakao now owns a 39.9% stake in SM.

Elsewhere, Korea-based news outlet Yonhap reported last month that South Korea’s financial regulator raided the headquarters of SM Entertainment in connection to potential stock price manipulation by Kakao.

At midday Monday (May 15) trading in Seoul, SM’s stock fell 4%.

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