SM’s oversea localization strategy, should have its front reexamined
Since their stage at an award ceremony of an Acting Awards show in 2010 [T/N: 2010 KBS Drama Awards], the image of JYJ(Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun, Kim Junsu) has disappeared from South Korean broadcasts. After that, September this year  was the first time JYJ reflected their image on broadcasting stations again. It had taken them almost approximately 4 years. JYJ’s appearance on a broadcast, however, was not on a broadcasting regular program; they had gotten to be merely on a relay broadcast only where they were on the ‘2014 Incheon Asian Games’ opening ceremony stage. There was also a controversy that had not permit this stage from the beginning. Even though JYJ had done activities for about 2 years as the honorary ambassadors for the Asian Games. With the controversy of the unjust, external pressure, the organizing committee had decided on their opening ceremony appearance in a hurry for that day. But their [T/N: IAGOC’s] promise from its outset was not upheld. JYJ had ascended at the opening ceremony, but that was half the promised performances. Which attribute to them having not ascend onto the closing ceremony stage.
Such things are, in fact, common for JYJ. JYJ has come to continuously carry on with things similar after applying for an injunction to suspend the validity of their exclusive contract with SM Entertainment. It was especially a taboo, ‘to be invisible’, to appear with the name JYJ on the 3 terrestrial stations. SM and an entertainment industry association [T/N: KFPCAI] which others big entertainment management companies held key roles in, had sent an official document formally to every broadcasting stations. Because of this JYJ’s schedule to appear on many broadcasts was cancelled from the beginning. It was not only broadcasting stations, but culture industry-related organizations/associations, as well, that grasps their situation, avoided JYJ and its members.
In May 2013, JYJ member Park Yoochun’s <Yoo Jae-suk & Kim Won-hee’s Come to Play> appearance was shockingly cancelled. It is even said the concept was to be with his MBC drama <Miss Ripley> cast members only. His appearance before the day of recording to be on KBS2 TV <Win Win> had been cancelled too. Jeju KBS’s <Wishing Jeju To Become One of the 7 Wonders, Special Live Broadcast> were notified of JYJ’s appearance cancellation 4 days prior to its broadcast. They were not free in the Republic of Korea.
In July 2013, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) issued a correction order against SM, to not obstruct/interfere with JYJ’s business activities. However, despite their legal battle having ended, JYJ’s broadcasting activities in South Korea are still not easy. They have not appear on any broadcasts. That past February , a theater screening of JYJ’s documentary was suddenly cancelled, and even the organization to plan on airing it on cable & satellite TV channels was cancelled abruptly. Its trailer was already out, too. They had ascended to be on the Asian Games opening ceremony, but it doesn’t seem easy to resume JYJ’s broadcasting activities in South Korea.
The example of JYJ was an unprecedented case. It is because they had filed a lawsuit suing against a big entertainment management company. The lawsuit action was not easy. It is the reason why their domestic activities are difficult to be seen on the map with a big entertainment management company’s.
Look at the example of EXO-M. There were members of EXO who have been around for 3 years yet withdrew back to back. Following Kris, Luhan had filed a lawsuit that claimed the invalidity of his exclusive contract. He pointed out that there seems to be the growing problem of maladjustment due to being from overseas; but as for the origin [of the problem], the contradiction of the ‘incubating system’ is an object of criticism. The ‘trainee incubating system’ –that is considered as a distinctive entertainment management company system from South Korea only– has administered a lot of time and efforts [into its trainees]. Also, there is even a large aspect where there is demand for sacrifice from every individuals. We shall see how a well-fitted system for Koreans will work out.
▲ EXO’s Luhan(left) and Kris(right)
SM’s localization strategy should have a reexamination of its front. The entertainment management system of South Korea created the ‘K-Pop Hallyu phenomenon’ in the unusual conditions of South Korea. But it is very obvious for there to be limits in applying with a universal system. No, this doesn’t apply to simply the members who are only from overseas. The record of lawsuits by Kris and Luhan should be a priority in the effort to improve the contradictions of South Korea’s entertainment management system for those in isolation. There has to be limits to the continuation of the ‘K-Pop”s Hallyu [Wave] with its foundation on the painful endurance[/suffering] and fear of young people in South Korea no longer. It must be accepted that this was an unusual phenomenon based on contradictions from one time.
By Kim Heon-sik
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