CJ ENM Endeavor Content Billion Dollar Purchase Comes After Skydance Investment and Best Picture Award for “Parasite”
Lee Byungchul’s granddaughter is already part of a South Korean media empire with her brother Lee Jayhyun. Lee will be a truly extraordinary leader with this new deal. “Modern content creator,” Lee expressed her ambition to become a North American astronaut.
He is part of a wave of Korean investments in Hollywood. The deal follows a similar deal between CAA and Korean studio JTBC, in which JTBC acquired a controlling stake in Wiip, the company behind HBO’s Emmy-winning movie “Mare of Easttown”. In January, the Wattpad social storytelling platform was acquired by Webtoon’s Korean parent company Naver for $ 600 million. And a subsidiary of South Korean entertainment company HYBE acquired Ithaca Holdings from Scooter Braun for $ 1.05 billion in April.
CJ has access to top Hollywood talent through Endeavor Content and the ability to better package titles.
“CJ has already been active in investing in the United States. They made other major investments in entertainment properties. I just think it has nothing to do with it, ”said Sky Moore, partner at the Greenberg-Glusker law firm. “They have the money and they want to invest in mainstream entertainment content; they can obviously use it in Korea.
While the deal does not include distribution, CJ retains more flexibility to release its projects through traditional studios or streamers – at a time when many are enjoying great success with overseas-produced content such as hit in France. French streaming “Lupine”, in Spanish “Money Heist” South Korean phenomenon of the non-CJ ENM “Squid Game” South Korea.
Additionally, CJ Entertainment and Merchandising is now gaining a foothold in Hollywood, as streamers like Netflix and Apple TV +, among others, are looking to make bigger plays in South Korea. Lee is a potential bridge to help these companies get the introductions they need and find international talent. “It’s surprising how many things she’s in the middle,” according to an insider. “As far as Asia in particular, she knows everyone… she’s a player.”
Who is Miky Lee? The 63-year-old heiress to fortune Samsung – whose name is pronounced Mickey and derived from her Korean name, Mie Kyung – has been a driving force in the expansion of her family’s sugar and flour manufacturing division, CJ Group, in the entertainment space, Premiered in 1996, with an 11% investment DreamWorks SKG: $ 300 million
“Since DreamWorks, she’s built a really long-standing Hollywood relationship with people,” a CJ insider said of Lee.
Shortly after director Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” became the first foreign-language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture, CJ ENM was part of a $ 275 million investment in David Ellison’s Skydance.
In addition to “Parasite”, CJ Entertainment funded some of Bong’s other films, such as “Snowpiercer”, “Mother” and “Memories of Murder”. Samuel Goldwyn Films recently released the company’s indie romance. “Ends, beginnings.” And he’s developing English-language remakes of Korean and Vietnamese films, like “Save the Green Planet” Ari Aster is “The Housemaid” producer Deon Taylor, director of Universal and two projects currently in development with Kevin Hart. “Extreme work” and “Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye”.
CJ has the ability to access an extensive library of film and television content through the acquisition of Endeavor Content. The studio has owned, funded and / or sold over 125 series and films, including part of a show like “Seasons with Marilyn”. “Killing Eve”, the films “Just Mercy” and “In the Heights”, he will use the funds to launch his TVING streaming service worldwide. After a successful launch in Korea, the OTT platform was launched globally in 2010. A major investment by South Korean tech conglomerate Naver, JuneNielsen Koreanclick, an analytics firm, reported that TVING has 3 , 4 million subscribers. However, the company has not confirmed that number but said it hopes to reach eight million by 2023.
According to CJ’s insider, CJ had been looking for some time to acquire a content studio – and Endeavor was motivated to sell 80% of his agency’s production company WME after making a deal earlier this year with the Writers Guild. of America to avoid conflicts of interest in its representation of writers and other talent. (The agency also agreed it will phase out lucrative packaging deals for film and television projects.
CJ has always favored English remakes of his films with other partners. However, an insider said the Endeavor Content deal will allow CJ to expand beyond Korean remakes to more international intellectual property. The deal will see Chris Rice and Graham Taylor continue to be co-CEOs of Endeavor Content.
“On our side of the world, we represent a unique voice, and we would like to marry it with an American content studio that has a global mindset,” Insiders spoke of the content studio founded in 2017 which employs around 200 people. “The awesome part of Endeavor is that for its short duration and relatively small size, it’s not limited to big, star-led American productions. It also has important global partnerships. We are very much in step with seeing entertainment as a global market and needing to create with the best creators in Hollywood and Asia. We really think this creates a great opportunity.
It’s right in North America, however. CJ has produced numerous films since 1995. It is the only Korean film distribution and investment company to distribute its films internationally. CJ owns 16 cable TV networks in South Korea: tvN behind such hits as “Melancholia”, “Chimera” and the reality cooking series “Three Meals a Day”. CJ Media Studio’s subsidiary Dragon has signed a three-year agreement with Netflix for content production and distribution in 2020.
You can also become a major K-Pop artist. Lee is the one who knows. CJ’s KCON Music Festival for K-Pop Artists produced the second US BTS Superstars Show in 2014. CJ ENM announced last month that it was in talks to acquire SM Entertainment. SM Entertainment is the pioneering music label that helped create K-Pop. Korea Herald report.)
In fact, CJ ENM’s entertainment business generates more overall revenue for the conglomerate than its consumer products division. According to the company’s third-quarter earnings report, CJ’s entertainment business revenue grew 19% (year-over-year) to 541.7 billion Korean won. This helped it increase its overall revenue by 7% (857.5 billion won, or $ 722 million), while its other segment was actually down 8%. Entertainment revenue has grown from 56% of the company’s overall profits a year ago to 64%.
CJ Group was founded in the early 1950s by Lee’s grandfather, and for years the company expanded its presence in ways that had nothing to do with media or entertainment, simply starting out as a manufacturer of sugar. But many in Hollywood have acknowledged that since then the heights DreamWorks or Bong reached as a filmmaker might not have been possible without Lee’s initial contribution.
When “Parasite” for Best Picture was won by the near-closing night, Lee was not allowed to speak. Although the microphone was already on stage, Tom Hanks could be seen leading the vocals for Lee to speak (when she praised Bong and all the Korean moviegoers). They speak well of the direction Lee and CJ ENM are taking. “High High High!”