Top Korean entertainment agency, SM Entertainment has partnered with an American virtual reality firm to form a joint venture that will sell a new Entertainment Experience, including 24/7 interaction of Kpop idols with fans.

SM, one of Asia’s leading entertainment groups, and the largest in Korea, and California-based ObEN, Inc., have established Magic Star Limited, a technology licensing company. The new company is expected to offer its so-called Star IP combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to provide "evolutionary" entertainment products and experiences.

SM artists such as EXO, SHINee and Super Junior as personal virtual assistants

SM Entertainment, which is listed on the Korean Stock Exchange, is globally known as the management company of Korean superstars such as boy bands Super Junior, EXO, SHINee, TVQX and NCT and equally popular girl groups like Girls' Generation, f(x), and Red Velvet. It has since diversified its business beyond artists’ management to related businesses such as trading and merchandising, entertainment production, and cultural promotion and arts exchanges. It will also soon open a training school for Kpop enthusiasts.

SM's new partner, ObEN, is a technology company incorporated in 2014 which has the capacity to build completely intelligent virtual images.

Their joint venture firm, Magic Star, is based in Hong Kong. The newly incorporated corporation is expected to be fully operational by the last quarter of the year.

Personalized lifestyle products for fans of SM Kpop idols

The strategic alliance between the Korean and American companies will offer more “personalized” lifestyle products such as mobile applications, chat robots, social robots and even unmanned vehicles.

With the partnership, SM Entertainment can offer a wide range of products using ObEN’s AI technology, to which the company has an approved patent. For instance, ObEN can imitate the voices, images, and create a virtual image of a chosen celebrity. The virtual likeness can be used in various applications for the enjoyment of fans and enthusiasts.

Under this concept, SM Entertainment chief strategy officer Young Min Kim said a favorite artist, singer or actor can very well be a 24/7 personal virtual assistant. The possibilities are endless, said Young.

AI plays crucial role in idol-celebrity interaction

A favorite K-Pop idol can also sing a subscriber’s favorite songs, among other unique tasks. According to Young, there are limitless opportunities for “AI-tainment” or the combination of artificial intelligence and entertainment.

ObEN co-founder and chief executive officer Nik Hil Jain said through Magic Star, SM and ObEN are building the “next generation of evolutionary form of entertainment” where AI plays a crucial role.

The applications will result in more idol-fan interaction, albeit virtually, which can intensify fans interactions with SM’s artists.