Clockwise from top left, FNC Entertainment's artists Song Eun-i, AOA, C.E.O Han Sung-ho, Juniel, CNBLUE and FTISLAND during the press conference of reality TV show "Cheongdam-dong 111." [tvN]

Clockwise from top left, FNC Entertainment’s artists Song Eun-i, AOA, C.E.O Han Sung-ho, Juniel, CNBLUE and FTISLAND during the press conference of reality TV show “Cheongdam-dong 111.” [tvN]

Which entertainment agencies made remarkable moves in the Korean entertainment scene this year? One of the biggest issues that dominated the management business was that persistent demand on Hallyu contents, especially on K-pop, allowed singer and actors to expand their boundaries to overseas market. In the contents producing industry, it has become a matter of common interest that abilities to create and produce more diversified contents as viewers and audiences have higher criteria. There were bigger examples of middle and small sized agencies to make strategic alliance or have merger and acquisitions for retaining stable profit system. In addition to those, private life of stars became more in danger thanks to the Internet, which make the “risk management ability” as the top priority of the management firm should have.

As a wrap-up and recap of this year 2013, TenAsia picked up eight entertainment agencies that impressed the industry and found out their performance, strength and weakness and searched their right direction to go. FNC Entertainment is our first batter (alphabetical order).

 

This Year’s Performance

The biggest stars of FNC Entertainment are definitely CNBLUE and FTISLAND. Both of the groups displayed vigorous activities in and out of Korea this year. CNBLUE scooped up the first place on Billboard’s World Album chart with fourth mini-album “Re:Blue,” filled only with their self-written tunes, and continued their overseas activities with five-city Japan Zepp tour and world tour “BLUE MOON.” FTISLAND also proved their power through band performances in China, Hong Kong and Japan. The group’s 11th Japan single album marked No. 1 on Oricon’s chart. CNBLUE’s Lee Jung-shin (TV series “Seo-young, My Daughter” and “Blade and Petal”) and Kang Min-hyuk (“The Inheritors”) cemented their names as actors, while FTISLAND’s Lee Hong-gi made successful screen debut through movie “Rockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” FTISLAND’s member Song Seung-hyun again took on the role D’Artagnan in musical “Three Muskeeters.”

 

AOA

From left, AOA members Chanmi, Seolhyun and Yoona. [FNC Entertainment]

Girl group AOA, who has both concept as dance group and band, the specialty of FNC Entertainment, entered the second year of their debut. AOA Black, five-member dance sub-unit of AOA, released single “MOYA” and held showcases in Singapore and Japan, which are the steppingstone for their upcoming overseas activities. AOA members Seolhyun (TV series “Seo-young, My Daughter”), Hyejung (“Cheongdam-dong Alice”) and Choa (musical “Highschool Musical”) also expanded their boundaries to acting. Juniel also made remarkable performance to sing new graduate song in 67 years. She also displayed sweet harmony with Lee Jong-hyun of CNBLUE in duet Romantic J.

This year, FNC Entertainment marked the new beginning. Starting with Park Gwang-hyun in 2011, FNC scouted Lee Dong-gun, Yoon Jin-seo and Song Eun-I last year and strengthened their actor management department. Especially, FNC made the meaningful move to produce their first TV series “Marry Him If You Dare,” starring FNC’s talents Jung Yong-hwa and Lee Dong-gun. The drama’s ratings score is not satisfying but it is not right to expect too much from the first attempt. FNC also produced the original soundtrack to “The Inheritors,” continuing their existing specialty, while began to promote the FNC brand through reality drama “Cheong-dam Dong 111.” The firm has already finished preparations to get the company listed on the KOSDAQ, South Korean stock market, in the first half of next year. It was also impressive that FNC Entertainment’s company building, located in Cheongdam-dong of Seoul, was chosen as Beautiful Architecture by Gangnam-gu Office this January.

 

CNBLUE

CNBLUE members perform at the Malaysia leg of their world concert tour “BLUE MOON.” [FNC Entertainment]

This Year’s Star

CNBLUE and FTISLAND are the two representative faces of FNC entertainment for sure. Both of them worked in local and overseas market actively, while each of the groups’ members widened their boundaries to stages, screens and TV variety shows. However, it was CNBLUE whose activities were slightly stronger than FTISLAND’s. Jung Yong-hwa filled all the tracks in the group’s sixth Japan single “LADY” with his self-written tunes, also cementing his filmography with “Marry Him If You Dare.” Despite of not-so-impressive score of the drama, he is still and alive. In addition, other CNBLUE members including Kang Min-hyuk and Lee Jung-shin have been recognized. Kang Min-hyuk grabbed noticeable popularity through “The Inheritors,” and Lee Jung-shin attracted attention from wider generations through “Seo-young, My Daughter.” AOA’s Seolhyun, co-star of “Seo-young,” contributed to promote the name of AOA.

As the year goes to its end, FNC’s another star is becoming FNC’s C.E.O Han Seong-ho. Along with TV show “Cheongdam-dong 111,” his extraordinary career is receiving attention. Let’s see if his name would become a new brand following SM Entertainment’s Lee Soo-man, YG Entertainment’s Yang Hyun-suk and JYP Entertainment’s Park Jin-young.

 

What’s Next?

“We’re going to expand aggressively by scouting more artists and training newbies. We’re also readying to go public next year,” C.E.O Han unveiled through recent interviews. They also diagnosed themselves to be in the stage of heading a big-sized agency. Compared to their artists’ name value, FNC itself had not caught much attention. Next year, the company will focus on letting their brand known as much as promoting their artists. CNBLUE will embark on Mid and South America tour for the first Korean band. Also, their actors will have more vigorous activities next year, including Lee Dong-gun, who resumed activities this year after being discharged from the military service. The idol-and-actors, namely Lee Jung-shin, Kang Min-hyuk and Seolhyun, will have more appearances on the small screen as well as Jung Yong-hwa and Lee Hong-gi who will continue their multi-activities. Following SM and YG Entertainments, FNC will establish its subsidiary firm FNC China in 2014.

Reporter. Hwang Seong-woon jabongdo@tenasia.co.kr
Translator. Cory Lee
Editor. Cory Lee

Courtesy of FNC Entertainment