K-pop audition shows with ratings of 0% “Compared to 10-billion-won production cost, the effect is ‘negligible’”

There is growing skepticism surrounding K-pop group audition shows hosted by broadcasting stations

Despite production costs ranging from 5 billion to 10 billion won, these shows often achieve negligible viewership ratings, and few of the debuting groups gain significant attention after the shows end. Some analysts attribute this to non-content companies investing money, lured by the optimistic belief that “K-pop is profitable”.


Over the past few years, numerous audition programs have been held by broadcasting stations. For instance, SBS’s “Loud” and “Universe Ticket” resulted in the debuts of The New Six and Unis, respectively, but neither group has gained much attention. Similarly, MBC’s “My Teenage Girl” produced Classy, whose impact has been minimal, and the subsequent series’ group, Fantasy Boys, has yet to stand out. Despite showcasing the development process, the capacity of terrestrial broadcasting stations to garner widespread public support has significantly waned compared to the past.


The influence of the parent company is also substantial. Mnet’s “Boys Planet” and JTBC’s “R U Next?” are considered success stories. ZEROBASEONE and ILLIT, the groups that emerged from these programs, have shown clear achievements, establishing themselves as prominent fifth-generation boy and girl groups. ZEROBASEONE has thrived with the extensive support of CJ ENM, which previously produced successful groups like Wanna One, I.O.I and IZ*ONE through the “Produce 101” series. ILLIT, formed through “R U Next?”, belongs to Belift Lab, a subsidiary of HYBE, the largest K-pop company in Korea. This suggests that groups backed by companies with substantial expertise and infrastructure are more likely to establish themselves in the competitive K-pop market.

ill it

Amidst this landscape, other K-pop group audition programs spearheaded by broadcasting stations are being launched. JTBC is introducing “Girls on Fire”, aimed at forming a female vocal K-pop group, while KBS is launching the global idol debut project “MAKE MATE 1”.

SBS is also joining the fray. The male version of “Universe Ticket”, called “Universe League”, will be revealed in the second half of the year, with applications now open. The debut group from “Universe League” will be managed by the new agency F&F Entertainment, which is under the fashion company F&F. Despite the robust financial backing from the parent company, F&F Entertainment lacks the competitive edge of agencies with extensive K-pop group production experience, as seen with Unis.

A music industry insider commented, “It costs at least 10 billion won to launch a K-pop group nowadays. As global demand for K-pop increases, more investors are flocking to the industry like moths to a flame. From broadcasting stations’ perspective, there’s no reason to refuse since most production costs are covered by the production companies. However, there is concern that the market may become oversaturated with K-pop groups, leading to a decline in overall quality.”

Back to top button