Bringing Kpop to a US Audience

CJ E&M is a South Korean entertainment and media conglomerate consisting of 17 television networks and over 350 programs offered in seven different languages.

In addition to all its success in network television and media, CJ E&M also prides itself on hosting spectacular events and conventions - promoting Korean culture globally.

CJ E&M Convention - Taken from
The Challenge

With tremendous success in Asia, the CJ team had ambitions to expand into the American market by launching a new site, KCON.TV. Our team helped to define CJ’s key goals and largest impact areas. We made sure to account for cultural differences between each of the target groups as well as the technical limitations for streaming content. The CJ team wanted a custom-built CMS to support video playing, featured content, ability to generate subtitles, and tagging. The team had a tight deadline: only 6 months from concept to launch.


The original value proposition behind launching KCON.TV was to promote interest in Korean entertainment across television, feature film, and music to a primarily English-speaking US audience. Some key pieces that we focused on included:

  • Create a modern and clean UX / UI focused on a ‘mobile-first’ approach

  • Build a strong platform that could support and quickly load large files including video, animated GIFs, images, and audio

  • Integrate with Third Party tools and platforms like the Melody PIP system in Korea, JWPlayer, and Disqus

  • Enable sharing via social applications such as Facebook and “Google Plus

The Process & Success

We began with a heavy research phase by taking a close look at competing and similar websites. We took inventory of some of top performing video content websites’ approach to user tasks. We also spoke with many KCON fans to understand how they were consuming this content at the time; what were their sources, how did they share and discover content, and where did they discuss things with other fans?

Our team focused heavily on basic usability, improved information architecture, and ease of use. The user should be able to find the videos easily and without unnecessary friction, be able to share that video quickly, and be introduced to related content so that they could spend more time on the site. We looked at specific user tasks including managing playlist flows, creating content channels, and creating a suggestions algorithm.

We were able to deliver in time for their biggest show of the year: the KCON 2016 Convention + Conference. The CJ team graciously invited us to the event, where we were able experience KCON fandom at its best. The event was live-streamed through the site and had tens of thousands of simultaneous viewers.

KCON Convention 2016 Exposition Center
KCON.TV Booth at KCON 2016 - Meet & Greet with Lia Kim