The entertainment industry is facing problems all over the world; especially the cinema sector. Reports of salary disparity, sexism and sexual abuse abound. Hollywood just had the worst summer box office slump in 25 years. The South Korean entertainment industry is facing many such problems at the moment. Recently it was learned how little K-pop idol stylists earn. Now, it has been revealed that entertainment agencies and managers are also suffering in a similar fashion.
As noted by website Soompi, many South Korean acting agencies and their managers, contrary to popular belief, are not all super rich. In fact, many of them even struggle with basic rents due to low earnings. Such people revealed that profit made from movies with stars in them does not really help them much, financially.
"It's hard to run the company solely through the money actors make through dramas or movies. We can only make a profit when we have actors who shoot advertisements," the CEO of an acting agency said on October 22. There are obviously those like Song Joong-ki and Park Bo-gum, who appear in many advertisements. But then, there are many more that don't. There are certainly other actors who aren't even approached to do advertisements.
So, income is needed from external sources if such a company is to survive. "Even if you have many well-known actors, there's nothing left after deducting gas prices and staff salaries unless they can shoot advertisements or specialise in working overseas," the CEO added.
The music agencies have a bigger gamble. They have to spend a lot of money on training singers and idols, for years. However, not every K-pop group ends up being a Girls' Generation, a BIGBANG, a TVXQ, a 2 pm or a BTS. So, every agency is not as lucky as SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment or YG Entertainment.
"Of course there are successful cases where they make large money, but most have to worry about meeting up with others and paying for their transportation and food," another industry insider said. So, those agencies that do not succeed, either die off or limp along, hoping for a turnaround someday.