Skip to content
  • KOSPI 3278.68 +20.05 +0.62%
  • KOSDAQ 998.49 +1.12 +0.11%
  • KOSPI200 436.96 +2.83 +0.65%
  • USD/KRW 1117.8 1.40 0.13%
  • JPY100/KRW 1,015.63 1.32 0.13%
  • EUR/KRW 1,355.5 2.31 0.17%
  • CNH/KRW 174.57 0.17 0.10%
View Market Snapshot

K-pop platform

NCSoft’s UNIVERSE fuels competition in K-pop entertainment platforms

By Jan 19, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

NCSoft's online fan community platform UNIVERSE
NCSoft's online fan community platform UNIVERSE

South Korean game publisher NCSoft Corp. is fueling competition in the online entertainment platform market with the planned launch of its own app, UNIVERSE, a global community for fans of Korean music, collectively known as K-pop.

The company has yet to officially launch the platform, but in cyberspace, it's already abuzz with gossip on Korean idols, their soon-to-be-released albums and coveted items – teasing fans eagerly waiting for the platform to go fully live.

With the online community expected to launch as early as this month, NCSoft says in the last two months it has drawn pre-registration of more than three million fans, as of Jan. 14.

Some 73% of those registered are from overseas, according to the company, coming from 188 nations including the US, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia.

It said the all-in-one K-pop platform will allow users to enjoy various K-pop content on mobile devices and interact with each other as well as their favorite artists through offline and online fandom activities.

UNIVERSE also promises original, never-before-seen content of featured artists such as music videos, photos, along with TV and radio shows.

The platform will also combine entertainment content with state-of-the-art technology to allow fans to produce their own virtual music videos alongside computer-generated versions of their favorite artists created through artificial intelligence (AI) voices and motion capture.

The service will be made available in 134 countries, and in three languages, Korean, English and Japanese. 

BTS' online concert, The Map of the Soul On:E, streamed via Weverse.
BTS' online concert, The Map of the Soul On:E, streamed via Weverse.

THREE-WAY COMPETITION

NCSoft’s UNIVERSE will be competing with two existing platforms in Korea – Naver Corp.’s V Live Fanship and Big Hit Entertainment Co.’s Weverse.

Naver launched Fanship in March 2020. The fan-targeted membership platform focuses on hallyu, the Korean Wave, offering services such as offline event invitations, exclusive videos and early bird ticket sales for concerts.

In August, Naver invested 100 billion won ($83.8 million) in SM Entertainment to boost its streaming platform content and expand its fan-based services to a global audience.

Meanwhile, Big Hit Entertainment launched Weverse in June and streamed live online concerts of the boyband sensation BTS on the platform, resulting in some 17 million downloads among its 4.7 million monthly active users (MAU).

With the growing influence of Weverse, Big Hit has also begun featuring artists not on its label, such as rapper and singer-songwriter CL, as well as singers Sunmi and Henry.

NCSoft’s UNIVERSE fuels competition in K-pop entertainment platforms
In efforts to strengthen its lineup before the official launch of UNIVERSE, NCSoft has been announcing the artists set to join platform. These include Monsta X, Kang Daniel, (G)I-DLE, IZ*ONE and The Boyz.

The company on Monday featured IZ*ONE, teasing fans with the schedule of the 12-member chart-topping K-pop act’s upcoming new single, D-D-Dance, which will drop on Jan. 26.

PANDEMIC GROWS FANDOM PLATFORM MARKET

The online fan community platform market has been growing rapidly since early last year as face-to-face concerts and contact between idols and fans became virtually impossible due to the pandemic.

As of May 2020, Naver’s V Live Fanship saw its paid monthly content grow fivefold compared to the first couple of months of the year, while the value of content transactions increased by 25 times in the same period.

Naver's online entertainment platform V Live Fanship
Naver's online entertainment platform V Live Fanship

BTS' online The Map of the Soul On:E concert, distributed via Big Hit’s Weverse, drew nearly one million spectators from 191 countries, selling tickets worth 49.1 billion won.

“Just like Netflix and Disney Plus on the OTT (over-the-top) service, those who own more intellectual property rights in K-pop content will emerge as the winners in the online entertainment platform market,” said an entertainment industry official.

Write to Joo-Wan Kim at kjwan@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

Comment 0

0/300