SM Entertainment, the K-pop agency behind NCT Dream, aespa and SuperM, has teamed up with UK television production company Moon&Back Media for a new project to create and launch a UK boy band to a global audience.
In what the companies described as a “first-of-its-kind partnership” between South Korea and the UK, the pair will launch a TV show, produced by Moon&Back, bringing together K-Pop and international TV production to discover “the next worldwide boy band sensation.”
SM Entertainment has launched over a dozen globally successful pop groups like NCT, aespa, SuperM, Red Velvet, RIIZE, and more, while Moon&Back is the brainchild of multi-BAFTA-winning producer Nigel Hall (Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor, One Direction), British media executive Dawn Airey (C4, C5, ITV, Sky, Getty Images), and talent manager Russ Lindsay (Ant & Dec, Simon Cowell).
Moon&Back’s founders have been launching talent, creating IP and producing and commissioning television shows globally for more than three decades. Earlier this year, Moon&Back secured an investment from Los Angeles-based Asylum Entertainment Group.
The series will be led by an executive team featuring industry executives such as Ben Karter (known for his work with The Script, Westlife and Taylor Swift), James McKinlay (renowned producer and Emmy-nominated showrunner of X Factor and America’s Got Talent), and BAFTA-winning executive producer David Hall (behind shows like Deal or No Deal, The Chase, and The Greatest Dancer).
The TV series will document the journey of an emerging boy band over six months, commencing their adventure from London in early 2024. Pre-production has begun, and the series is set to be shot in the UK and South Korea.
“This collaboration signifies our first footprint in Europe. Our expansion blueprint will continue to span across North and South America, Europe, and other pivotal markets, leveraging SM Entertainment’s vast artist roster and extensive networks for unprecedented synergies ahead.”
Joseph Chang, SM & Kakao Entertainment America
The development comes as SM Entertainment plans to expand its reach into global markets including Europe after launching an integrated North America division with its shareholder Kakao Corp. earlier this year.
Commenting on their UK project, Joseph Chang, CEO of SM & Kakao Entertainment America, said: “This collaboration signifies our first footprint in Europe.”
Chang added: “Our expansion blueprint will continue to span across North and South America, Europe, and other pivotal markets, leveraging SM Entertainment’s vast artist roster and extensive networks for unprecedented synergies ahead. We are thrilled to partner with power players who were critical in the creation and success of One Direction, and together we are aiming to find that next global sensation.”
Dawn Airey, Co-Founder of Moon&Back, commented: “Take one of the world’s best entertainment producers and combine it with the world’s best K-Pop producer and watch the magic unfold. This is a global first, creating a British boy band and exposing them to the wonders and rigors of the premier K-Pop process with SM Entertainment. This alchemy will create compelling television and a boy band that will entertain the world.”
This is a global first, creating a British boy band and exposing them to the wonders and rigors of the premier K-Pop process with SM Entertainment. This alchemy will create compelling television and a boy band that will entertain the world.”
Dawn Airey, Moon&Back
As the companies prepare for filming, discussions with major broadcasters, record labels and music publishers are already in motion.
The formation of K-Pop groups through TV shows is a common practice in the South Korean music industry. Often referred to as “idol survival shows,” these shows follow a format where individuals, often aspiring singers or trainees, compete against each other through various challenges to earn a spot in a new idol group.
Groups formed through these shows have gained significant popularity in South Korea and internationally, among them NCT Dream, Pentagon, TWICE, SEVENTEEN, Momoland and Monsta X.
Elsewhere, SM Entertainment recently disclosed plans to expand its search for songwriting talent worldwide, after booking its highest-ever quarterly revenue and profit in the third quarter.
“We are pursuing various collaborations with domestic and foreign publishers… Globally, we plan to actively recruit foreign writers who wish to advance into K-pop by establishing overseas subsidiaries,” CEO Jang Cheol Hyuk said during the company’s recent investor call.
“In addition, we plan to internalize royalties and sell music to external labels and agencies in the future, which will serve as another new revenue stream for SM Entertainment.”
Music Business Worldwide