Miss Universe to evolve with new ownership

Earl D.C. Bracamonte - Philstar.com
Miss Universe to evolve with new ownership
Harnaaz Sandhu, Miss Universe India 2021 is crowned Miss Universe at the conclusion of the 70th Miss Universe Competition on December 12, 2021 at the Universe Arean in Eilat, Israel.
MUO / Tracy Nguyen

MANILA, Philippines — Content and commerce bonded together with JKN's acquisition of the entire Miss Universe Organization (MUO), including the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant systems.

The new ownership was formally shared to the world through a recent online press briefing simply dubbed, "The Evolution of the Universe."

As one of the longest-running and most-watched competitions in the world, Miss Universe aims to continue its legacy of celebrating women from all backgrounds, culture, and traditions, as well as in providing a global platform for women to effect positive changes in the world.

The noontime webinar also highlighted the new owner's future plans for the Miss Universe brand under the new leadership. JKN will build on the Miss Universe Organization's more than seven-decade legacy, including expanded investments in licensing and merchandising opportunities like the pipe-line project, Miss Universe Lifestyle.

"We stage the annual pageant to promote, empower, and inspire women and transwomen 'coz I'm one of them. I'm a transgender who overcame the obstacles. My story will inspire all women around the world. Everything is possible if we have the confidence. Let's move forward and turn a new page in history," revealed Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, MUO new owner.

JKN's 100% ownership of MUO is also a pride for Thailand. So much so that its history includes the reign of two former Thai titleholders - Apasra Hongsakula (1965) and Porntip Nakirungkanok (1988). The new owner will introduce new things for the new generation in a universal level. One Universe embraces transgender, married, and divorced women as contestants under its expanded eligibility starting with the 72nd Miss Universe edition; as well as sustainable business opportunities for its entire network of partners. It will continue the legacy and evolve the brand as it takes over the reins of the organization.

The JKN Global Group is a Thai-owned conglomerate that imports global content to Thailand, as well as export Thai content to the rest of the world. It has been dealing with content marketing for news, music, and entertainment for the past 20 years. Its acquisition of MUO may result in the rebranding of former titles into JKN Universe, JKN Miss USA, and JKN Teen USA. Its business portfolio would soon include wellness products, beverages, and cosmetics; and its TV network, JKN18, broadcasts content on sports, documentaries, and movies to its 350-million viewers.

"We are incredibly honored to be acquiring the Miss Universe Organization and work with its visionary leadership team. The global reach of the organization, its relationships with global partners and brands, and its wealth of content, licensing, and merchandising opportunities make this a strong and strategic addition to our portfolio. We seek not only to continue its legacy of providing a platform to passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, culture, and traditions, but also to evolve the brand for the next generation," intimated the new owner.

JKN's total acquisition of MUO and its brands - Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA - comes as a historic move, especially that the new owner is a transgender and the first non-American at that. Founded in 1952, MUO was owned by Pacific Knitting Mills and Catalina swimwear until 1996. The ownership was then passed on to Trump Industries, who ran the pageant until 2014. In 2015, IMG took on the reins of the organization. Since then, the Miss Universe has been viewed by over 600-million spectators in close to 170 countries and territories.

"I've been with the Miss Universe Organization for the past 20 years and I know we are in good hands. Anne is the embodiment of what Miss Universe is all about. The brand has championed confidently beautiful women all across the globe. Our progress were pioneered by women who have been given the opportunity to share their voices in our many campaigns. We are a brand that's constantly evolving. As a recognized brand, we will continue reaching untapped markets.

"We are excited to continue the evolution of the Miss Universe Organization with JKN. Our relationships with global partners and brands have never been stronger, and our progressive approach continues to position us at the forefront of our industry. We would like to thank IMG for providing us a foundation to realize our aspirations for the brand," enthused MUO President Paula Shugart.

By November 7, MUO officers in the United States will fly to Bangkok to meet with the new owner and core team and thresh out details of the forthcoming pageant in mid-January next year. Jewelry sponsor Fred Mouawad also informed media attendees that they will be unveiling a new crown for the 71st edition in January 2023.

"I'm humbled to be here and be part of this institution, this legacy that celebrates women from all backgrounds and traditions. Half of the national directors worldwide are women. We will keep the same format with a few positive changes. This acquisition will build on the strong word, including the new Miss Metaverse title," apprized MUO Chief Executive Officer Amy Emmerich.

So after the furor of an alleged sale for ownership a few months ago, the rumors turned out to be true. With the passing of the baton from IMG to JKN, will this signal a new era in pageantry? Will this acquisition shake the status quo or will it bolster an already established platform? Stay tuned!

RELATED: Miss Universe 2022 reveals date, venue; confirms moms, wives can join

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