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Naver Webtoon to partner with BTS, DC Comics

Naver Webtoon CEO Kim Jun-koo (Naver Webtoon)
Naver Webtoon CEO Kim Jun-koo (Naver Webtoon)

Naver Webtoon is partnering with Korean entertainment powerhouse Hybe and DC Comics.

“One of our plans for this year, named ‘Super Casting,’ is the collaboration with other leading companies in the entertainment industry. We are planning to build an interesting platform and universe with the artists, including BTS, allowing both readers and K-pop fans to enjoy the new contents,” said Naver Webtoon CEO Kim Jun-koo at a press conference Wednesday morning.

“The partnership with DC Comics also means original content and works will be showcased through Naver Webtoon,” Kim said.

Kim introduced Naver Webtoon as a “storytech” platform, combining two important features -- storytelling and tech-savvy -- into one word.

“Webtoon being storytelling is easy to understand. But we have established a system where new creators can debut, evolve and meet global fans every day,” Kim said.

Kim added that advances in technology are not only limited to auto drawing.

“When the writers release their works, our system offers concrete data about what part of the content came to the viewers’ attention. This technology helps the writer to meet reader’s demand and interest, leading the growth of the webtoon business,” Kim said.
Mobile application for Naver Webtoon (123rf)
Mobile application for Naver Webtoon (123rf)

Launching its webtoon platform in 2004, Korean internet giant Naver has pioneered the global webtoon market.

The South Korean digital comics platform has 6 million writers and more than 160 million users across the globe, according to the company.

Content sales increased to 144.8 billion won ($123.7 million) in the second quarter, a 28.2 percent increase compared to the same period last year, the company said. Meanwhile, the average earnings of Naver Webtoon artists has increased to 280 million won, about twice the figure of last year, according to the company.

The introduction of the PPS model in 2013 was critical to Naver Webtoon’s evolution to a global storytech platform, according to Kim.

Short for “Page Profit Share,” PPS is a model first developed by Naver Webtoon that allows writers to earn profit beyond manuscript fees, including for advertisements, paid content and intellectual property.

“Based on the PPS model, Naver Webtoon was able to take a step to the global webtoon market because it shared the characteristics of two streaming giants YouTube and Netflix. YouTube offers a chance to anyone to upload their videos and make profit when they become professional, while Netflix recommends and manages popular works,” Kim said.

“We believe that Naver Webtoon is not just an overseas business. As a leading company in the industry, I believe that Naver Webtoon is paving the road for the global webtoon businesses to follow. I certainly feel a huge responsibility, but am very excited for the future of webtoons.”

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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