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Kakao M to pursue new content model for mobile age

CEO vows to invest 300 billion won into producing ‘mobile-fit’ original content by 2023

Kakao M CEO Kim Sung-soo (Kakao M)
Kakao M CEO Kim Sung-soo (Kakao M)

Kakao M, the entertainment arm of Korea’s internet portal giant Kakao, on Tuesday said it will lead the paradigm shift to mobile content and the online platform within the entertainment industry.

“We will create content most fit to the mobile environment. It will be well-made ‘mobile-fit’ content never witnessed before,” Kakao M CEO Kim Sung-soo said during a press conference held in Seoul on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s event was the first media gathering conducted since the firm’s establishment in November 2018 and Kim’s appointment to the post in January the following year.

Around 300 billion won ($249 million) in investments will be injected over the next three years to create over 240 original digital titles. The goal is to introduce around 70 minutes of new content on average through the company’s streaming platform Kakao TV and YouTube every day.

“We have arrived at an age where no one watches the content created by broadcast channels,” Kim said. “Whether it be through social media or the portal, it is important to make a platform in which we can directly interact with the consumers, and I believed Kakao was the best company that could technically achieve this.”

During the press conference, Kim also emphasized the importance of original content. He revealed that Kakao M will introduce around 54,000 new songs, 15 films and series and over 240 original digital titles by 2023.

“We will present a new content business model that can stably provide added-value through developing and fostering a novel contents intellectual property system in diverse business areas,” Kim declared.

With the vision of “making a better world with content,” the Kakao subsidiary has been actively diversifying its original content business, including music, TV dramas, films and digital contents, under Kim’s leadership.

Kim, the former head of Korea’s biggest entertainment giant CJ ENM, is credited for taking the domestic content industry to another level over the last 15 years. Previously spearheading several broadcasting networks, including Tooniverse and the now-defunct On Media, Kim played a key role in helping CJ ENM become a leading entertainment firm through daring innovations and investments.

“Through my years of experience, I grasped that in order to create good content, we need to gather good people and foster a culture in which they can create content, and our most important role here is to provide the infrastructure and system to support them,” Kim said.

To realize such an idea, Kim has been aggressively pursuing mergers and acquisitions with major media companies in the last year and a half. This includes seven major entertainment agencies, two film houses, four drama production studios, a stage production firm and four music labels.

Kim has also recruited established writers, producers and creators of major broadcasters and studios and has been working on developing what he calls a “top talent group.”

In collaboration with the talent pool, by 2023 Kakao M plans annual production of original music and video content worth at least 400 billion won in profit.

Kim added his final goal is to build a “content packaging firm,” which he describes as having comprehensive power over the whole process of producing and distributing content.

“We must make a fair system in which new screenwriters and new actors are trained and are connected with skilled directors. A good infrastructure must come first for successful media and the contents. The Korean entertainment scene is too fragmented right now, and the companies are too small to challenge themselves with a new business. I’m aiming to make a healthy infrastructure that can be shared with creators of valuable IP.”

By Choi Ji-won (
Korea Herald Youtube