Naver Webtoon CEO Kim Joon-ku (Naver)
Naver’s storytelling and comic platform has the greatest number of creators and users in the world. Some 6 million creators are registered with Naver Webtoon and its recently acquired Wattpad, and up to 167 million users visit the sites each month.
The fact that Naver’s storytelling arm has a vast pool of creators and a global fandom appeals to top global entertainment companies with high-value intellectual properties that are interested in having characters or stories they own made into webcomics.
Naver announced in a press conference last month a “super casting” program, where creators on the company’s storytech platform create original content based on external intellectual properties and unveil them.
Hybe, which manages K-pop phenom BTS, and DC Comics have been selected as the program’s first partners.
New original webtoon content based on DC Comics characters such as Batman and Superman may be released through Naver’s storytech platform in the future.
Naver is upbeat, as BTS and Batman already have global fandoms and Naver has successfully turned webnovels such as “The Remarried Empress” and “Omniscient Reader” into webtoons on a global scale.
As top entertainment companies take part in Naver Webtoon’s intellectual property value chain, the company is expected to solidify its prominence in the storytelling industry.
Naver Webtoon says it is the sole global storytech platform to combine a YouTube model where amateur content is uploaded and a Netflix model that produces original content by “Webtoon Originals” creators.
Naver’s Webtoon Canvas, where anyone can upload webcomics they have created, is the first such system in the industry.
“Any player in the webtoon market can momentarily increase revenue from paid membership by spending more in marketing, but it is very hard to secure such a vast pool of creators and fans, which are essential for long-term growth, as Naver Webtoon,” said a person in the webcomics industry.
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com