NATIONAL

‘Korean webtoon writers earn W18 m per month’: True or skewed?

By Kim Jee-min
  • Published : Sept 12, 2018 - 16:53
  • Updated : Sept 12, 2018 - 20:18
Naver announced on Tuesday that webcomic or webtoon writers publishing their work on the company’s webtoon portal, Naver Webtoon, earned on average about 200 million won ($178,000) per annum.

The average salary of some 300 Naver webcomic writers from July 2017 to June 2018 was 220 million won, equivalent to an 18 million won monthly salary.

(Naver Webtoon)

Authorities said this is because Naver owns almost 80 percent of the webtoon portal market. Naver counts about 15.5 billion views per month -- eight times as many as other webtoon portals such as Kakao and Lezhin Comics.

In addition to advantageous ad revenue, many readers pay small sums for services such as viewing the next episode of a series in advance. Some webtoons also get turned into movies and television programs, such as JTBC’s popular drama “My ID is Gangnam Beauty.”

However, some webcomic writers have criticized the media reports, saying the statistics only include writers who publish on major webtoon portals. According to a recent survey conducted by the Korea Creative Content Agency, 68.7 percent of webtoon creators earned less than 30 million won ($27,000) annually -- not an impressive sum, considering they worked an average of 61.56 hours per week.

(Naver Webtoon)

Becoming a regular Naver webtoon writer is extremely competitive. First, hopefuls must upload their webcomics to the Naver Webtoon Challenge, an open platform where popular webtoons get promoted to Best Challenge. Only the best are selected for weekly publication on the website and rewarded with a regular paycheck.

By Kim Jee-min (jeeminkim@heraldcorp.com)