HYBE is on the hunt for its next girl group. Following the success of Le Sserafim, its first-ever girl group composed of former IZ*ONE members, and NewJeans, masterminded by Min Hee-jin who had been behind the concepts of prominent SM artists like Girls' Generation and EXO, HYBE is now setting its sights on creating a "female version of ENHYPEN". This will be done through the JTBC audition show, "R U Next?". The focus on communication that has underpinned HYBE's success is expected to make waves.

Scheduled to premiere on the 30th, "R U Next?" is a survival show co-produced by JTBC and Belift Lab, an entertainment agency jointly established by CJ ENM and HYBE. The program can be regarded as the second season of the Mnet survival audition "I-LAND", aired in 2020.

ENHYPEN was formed through "I-LAND". As HYBE's new boy band, they drew attention even before their official debut due to the company's history of launching global stars like BTS. The show, filmed in a 3000 square meter compound, had a production cost of 20 billion won and spanned over a 3-year period. However, the ratings barely held on at 0%, and buzz around the show was minimal, failing to meet expectations.

Nonetheless, the goal was always to create a global idol group. While the reality-focused format, more survival than audition, did not initially generate much buzz within the domestic community, it did manage to capture the interest of teenagers and international audiences. Although some criticized the method of letting trainees decide who gets eliminated as harsh for the young participants, others found it tense and exciting.

This gradual approach allowed ENHYPEN to build a solid global fandom. The strategy to first target the overseas market before gaining recognition from domestic audiences thankfully paid off. The group became one of the fastest artists to achieve over one million initial album sales in just one year and eight months after their debut.

Before their official debut, ENHYPEN made various social accounts to actively communicate with fans. This strategy, also one of the key elements behind BTS' success, helped them to establish a global fanbase.

In the upcoming "R U Next?", a "female ENHYPEN" will be chosen. 22 female trainees from Belift Lab will participate in the show, taking on seven rounds of missions. Among the participants are trainees who practiced with Le Sserafim, NewJeans members, and a trainee who appeared as a child actor in a film with 10 million viewers. The show will be broadcast globally through HYBE Labels' YouTube channel, and simultaneously on Japan's Abema and JTBC, targeting a 'global fandom' like ENHYPEN.

Considering the production team's approach to the program as a 'character documentary', it is expected that the bond between trainees and fans will significantly strengthen. Before the show's premiere, profile videos of the participants uploaded on the official "R U Next?" TikTok account have already amassed over 17 million views, hinting at a strategy to foster early 'communication with fans', just like BTS and ENHYPEN.

Survival shows are a form of 'public recruitment'. As the debut preparation process is revealed to the public, there are both benefits and drawbacks. While there may be less buzz and possibly sluggish ratings, the 'close communication' with the public can boost favorability, making it a very appealing element in forming a new group. This is why the upcoming "female version of ENHYPEN" is seen positively following the paths of Le Sserafim and NewJeans.