HYBE’s growing roster of K-pop groups and a heavy touring schedule helped revenue improve 21.2% to 621 billion won ($472 million) in the second quarter of 2023, the South Korea company announced on Tuesday (Aug. 8). Revenue for the six-month period surpassed 1 trillion won ($760 million) for the first time in the company’s history.
Strong album sales by Seventeen and Tomorrow X Together led HYBE to 22.7 million albums in the first half of 2023 and put the entertainment business on pace to far surpass sales of 22.2 million and 15 million in calendar 2022 and 2021, respectively.
Seventeen’s 10th Mini Album ‘FML’ sold 3.99 million units globally on its first day of release and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart dated May 13. Nine years after Seventeen’s debut, the group’s fandom “is growing significantly, which is leading to selling out and reprinting of older albums as the group is attracting much attention,” CEO Ji-won Park said during the earnings call.
Tomorrow X Together sold 3.54 million albums in the quarter. NewJeans accounted for 2.1 million units and nabbed its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with the Get Up EP. Le Sserafim sold 1.9 million units and Enhypen moved 1.8 million units. HYBE’s sixth- and seventh-best-selling artists were solo members of BTS: Jimin sold 1.6 million units and Agust D sold 1.3 million units.
A revitalized global concert business and more artists on tour helped HYBE’s concert revenue improve 85.4% to 157.5 billion won ($120 million). Suga attracted 290,000 fans to 28 concerts in 10 cities across South Korea, the United States, Southeast Asia and Japan. HYBE plans to have 111 concerts by seven artists in 2023, almost double the 59 concerts by four artists in 2022.
Merchandise and licensing revenue improved 13.3% to 111.9 billion won ($85 million). Contents revenue dropped 28.1% to 50.8 billion won ($39 million) while fan clubs and other indirect revenue grew 29.4% to 21.8 billion won ($17 million).
Despite the strong demand for its artists’ albums and concerts, HYBE’s operating profit declined 7.9% to 88.3 billion won ($67 million), however, and operating margin as a percent of revenue dropped to 13.1% from 17.2% in the prior-year period. CFO Kyung-Jun Lee attributed the decline to expenses related to BTS’s Festa concert in June to celebrate the group’s tenth anniversary and “substantial investment” in Weverse Con festival, also in June. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization declined 1.2% to 106.4 billion won ($81 million).
Weverse, HYBE’s in-house social media platform, finished the second quarter with a record 9.5 million monthly active users, up 200,000 MAUs from 9.3 million in the first quarter and more than 50% greater than the 6 million MAUs in the second quarter of 2022. In the second quarter, Weverse launched a payment method called Jelly; Weverse DM, a subscription-based private chat service that allows fans to exchange messages with artists; and Fan Letter, a feature that allows fans to write and decorate messages to artists.
Shares of HYBE rose as much as 4.6% to 287,000 won ($218.03) on the South Korea Stock Exchange Tuesday morning. As of Monday’s closing price, HYBE’s share price had gained 58.2% year to date.