Korean entertainment entrepreneur Lee Soo-man [SME's biggest shareholder] of SM Entertainment
SM Entertainment (SM) -- considered one of the top three talent agencies in Korea alongside YG and JYP Entertainment -- saw its most successful first quarter this year, recording the biggest profit the company has ever seen.
According to a press release issued by SM on Thursday, the agency recorded operating profits of 10.4 billion won from January to March this year, up an astounding 471 percent from the same period last year when the total operating profit for the entire year had been 9.3 billion won.
SM's total sales during Q1 was also reported at 22.7 billion won, indicating a growth of about 58 percent for the company.
The increase can be attributable to the success of many of its artists including idol groups Super Junior, SHINee, f(x) and Girls' Generation. With SM-trained pop groups gaining more popularity throughout Asia, the agency is raking in more profits from the their album sales, overseas activities and royalty fees.
SM said that it is expecting the second quarter to be equally successful business-wise since its singers are scheduled to release new records and hold concerts in Asia. In addition, the company is preparing to put out various digital content products such as a digital album for smart phones.
Founded in 1995 by former singer Lee Soo-man, SM quickly became one of the most influential talent agencies in Korea. Lee, who stepped down from SM's board of directors in February, has created and masterminded the successful careers of numerous K-pop artists including BoA, Fly To The Sky, H.O.T. and TVXQ.
SM also manages many songwriters, music producers, comedians and actors including Ara, Choi Jung-yoon and Lee Yeon-hee.