DC Comics and HYBE make a deal with Korean Naver for content creation


American cartoon giant DC Comics and South Korean art agency HYBE have agreed to work with online animation company Webtoon on content creation.

Korea-based Webtoon is part of Asian Internet giant Naver, best known for its Naver search engine features and the Line messaging app. Naver recently paid $ 600 million to buy online story company Wattpad and also bought a minority stake in HYBE (formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment), the company behind K-pop sensation BTS.

The pacts with DC and HYBE were announced on Wednesday at a Webtoon press event and were positioned as part of its new “super casting” initiative.

This aims to create new original web comics and web novels, some in translation, using external intellectual property from global entertainment companies. Operational details were scarce.

Webtoons CEO Kim Jun Koo described the relationships between the companies as “synergistic,” as they offer a combination of deep pools of intellectual property with the economies of scale that come with Webtoon’s leadership position in tools. creative and animation distribution.

Founded in 2014, Webtoon now has 166 million average monthly users and a list of some six million creators. It operates open platforms that mirror YouTube by combining both user-generated content and professional-grade material. It earns revenue from advertising, paid content, IP sales and film adaptations.

Kim said that creators participating in her profit sharing system (PPS) can earn significant sums. The anonymous lead creator of Webtoon earns KRW 12.4 billion ($ 10.6 million) annually, Kim said, while the average creators’ earnings through profit share are $ 238,000 (KRW 280 million). ). The PPS program needs to be reinforced with web novels, web comics and transmedia.

Netflix’s fantasy horror series “Sweet Home” is a live-action adaptation produced by Studio Dragon and adapted from material by Studio N, a subsidiary of Webtoon. The company said the original content gained popularity in other regions after Netflix began streaming the adapted show.

Kim’s presentation included a video message from two of Wattpad’s founders. But they offered little new insight into the development of the jointly owned Wattpad Webtoon studios. Last week, Wattpad Webtoon Studios renewed and expanded its content production alliance in Indonesia with local streamer Vidio and production house Screenplay Films. Wattpad is the originator of over 100 movies and TV series for broadcasters and streamers including Netflix, Sony Pictures Television, Crunchyroll, The Jim Henson Company, Vertigo Entertainment, and Constantin Film.

HYBE has grown considerably with the cross-global success of BTS and went public almost a year ago. It has used its stock market listing to diversify its business beyond BTS and talent representation and into technology and international markets.

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Jenny T. Curlee