S.M. Entertainment and ObEN Form Joint Venture to Create the World’s First Celebrity AI Agency

S.M Entertainment joins forces with ObEN, a full-stack AI company, to create the world’s first celebrity AI agency to deliver entertainment experiences and products 

SEOUL, South Korea and PASADENA, Calif., June 28, 2017 S.M. Entertainment (041510:KOSDAQ), a leading entertainment enterprise in Asia and ObEN, a full-stack artificial intelligence (AI) company that creates virtual identities, have signed an agreement to establish a joint venture, AI Stars Limited (AI Stars). Based in Hong Kong, AI Stars will be the world’s first agency that combines celebrity intellectual property (IP) and AI technology to create entertainment experiences and products. AI Stars will showcase a product demonstration to deliver a new kind of entertainment experience driven by Celebrity AI later this year.

S.M. Entertainment brings decades of global talent management experience together with ObEN’s proprietary AI technology to create, manage and monetize the AI assets of celebrities and influencers. ObEN’s AI technology quickly constructs a person’s virtual voice, image and personality to create a full-stack virtual celebrity that looks, sounds and behaves like its human counterpart. AI Stars will empower brands and services to seamlessly incorporate the voice, image and personality of top talent into their product offerings to deliver a highly personalized and engaging experience for consumers. AI Stars will incorporate Celebrity AI into a variety of lifestyle applications such as smart devices, social-friendly robots, chatbots, and autonomous vehicles. S.M. Entertainment’s portfolio of global stars include K-pop phenomena Kangta, BoA, TVXQ!, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, f(x), EXO, Red Velvet and NCT among others.

“With the advent of the AI era, S.M. Entertainment aims to deliver a new form of entertainment by combining ObEN’s innovative AI technology with our celebrity IP and content,” said Young Min Kim, Chief Vision & Strategy Officer of S.M. Entertainment. “Imagine a world where your favorite celebrity becomes a meaningful part of your life. From becoming your personal virtual assistant to performing together to your favorite song of theirs, consumers will have endless possibilities to experience ‘AI-tainment’ by combining AI and entertainment.”

“We are building the next evolution of entertainment which we believe will be AI-driven experiences and content,” said Nikhil Jain, cofounder and CEO of ObEN, Inc. “AI Stars will enable celebrities, through their AI, to create interactive and highly personalized experiences for their fans while growing their reach. ObEN’s AI technology is a plug-and-play solution that requires minimal time and effort from the celebrity while giving them control over their AI. We are honored to partner with S.M. Entertainment, which has assembled an unparalleled roster of world-class talent.”

Earlier this year, SoftBank Ventures Korea made a strategic investment into ObEN to further its AI vision. “ObEN is at the forefront of AI innovation and brings best-in-class AI technology combined with a masterful team of scientists and engineers,” said J.P. Lee, partner and managing director of SoftBank Ventures Korea. “AI will transform the way people create and consume content and we believe ObEN and S.M. Entertainment’s vision of next generation entertainment experiences driven by celebrity AI will be a game changer.”

About AI Stars

AI Stars is an entertainment technology agency that merges artificial intelligence (AI) with a diverse roster of international celebrity talent to power next generation services and products. Founded in 2017, AI Stars is a Hong Kong based joint venture between S.M. Entertainment, a leading entertainment company in Asia and ObEN, a leading artificial intelligence company that creates virtual copies of humans. Visit stars.ai to learn more.

About S.M. Entertainment

S.M. Entertainment is Korea’s No.1 Entertainment & Media Group, leading the overseas market through its unique production and training system and excellent overseas marketing strategy. As the pioneer of the Korean Wave, S.M. Entertainment has produced many global K-pop stars.

Founded in 1995, S.M. Entertainment started out as a music production company, and since then, has accumulated years of know-how and expertise in album planning, production, distribution, promotion and artist management. Some of the global artists produced include Kangta, BoA, TVXQ!, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, f(x), EXO, Red Velvet and NCT.

At CES 2017, S.M. Entertainment showcased the prototype of Wyth, a Celebrity AI Assistant Speaker with likeness of Girls’ Generation and EXO members.

About ObEN

ObEN is an artificial intelligence (AI) company that creates complete virtual identities for consumers and celebrities enabling never before possible social and virtual interactions. ObEN builds a person’s virtual voice, image and personality to create their Personal AI and then stores, manages, and helps monetize these assets in the digital world. Founded in 2014, ObEN is a SoftBank Ventures Korea and HTC Vive X portfolio company and is located at Idealab in Pasadena, California. To learn more about ObEN, please visit oben.com.


Henry Kwon
S.M. Entertainment

Jeff Hare


ObEN's proprietary artificial intelligence technology quickly combines a person's 2D image and voice to create a personal 3D avatar. Transport your personal avatar into virtual reality and augmented reality environments and enjoy deeper, social, more memorable experiences. Founded in 2014, ObEN is an HTC VIVE X portfolio company and is located in Pasadena, California at leading technology incubator Idealab.

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