Wattpad and WEBTOON Merge Studio Divisions to Create Wattpad WEBTOON Studios, a Fully Funded, Fan-Driven Global Entertainment Powerhouse
TORONTO & LOS ANGELES – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – Wattpad, the global cross-platform entertainment company for original stories and the leading social storytelling platform, and WEBTOON, the world’s largest digital comics platform, today announced that the companies will merge their studio divisions to create Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. Leveraging WEBTOON’s passionate global fandoms and Wattpad’s combined audience of over 166 million people, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios will create the world’s most innovative multi-format studio, producing TV shows, movies and books based about data and fans. Naver, parent company of WEBTOON and Wattpad, will pledge US $ 100 million to Wattpad WEBTOON Studios for development and production funding.
After launching and building the Wattpad Studios brand since 2017, Aron Levitz will assume the role of President of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. Taylor Grant will lead the WEBTOON entertainment portfolio, Eric Lehrman will lead the Wattpad entertainment portfolio, Ashleigh Gardner will continue to lead all aspects of publishing and Dexter Ong will lead international business.
South Korean internet conglomerate Naver recently acquired Wattpad in a deal valued at over US $ 600 million. The move brought Wattpad into line with WEBTOON from Naver, two leading comics, entertainment and storytelling companies. By merging the entertainment divisions of Wattpad and WEBTOON, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios strengthens Naver’s global leadership in intellectual property, digital comics and web novels.
Wattpad WEBTOON Studios brings together the expertise of WEBTOON Studios and the growing list of adaptations of some of the world’s most popular digital comics, with Wattpad Studios’ data-driven, audience-driven approach to finding and producing bestselling TV shows, movies and books. As a public-focused IP powerhouse, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios unleashes the full potential of WEBTOON and Wattpad’s global IP libraries, a growing list of creators of superstars and fandoms across all genres.
Wattpad WEBTOON Studios brings hundreds of millions of new stories and diverse voices to the global entertainment and publishing marketplace, along with an unmatched ability to find and develop successful franchises for local or international audiences. Today, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios has over 100 projects in development or production, screen hits around the world, a thriving global publishing division, and cutting-edge expertise in YA and comedy adaptations, which are among the most popular and successful categories of entertainment.
Wattpad and WEBTOON’s expertise in fan-centric content has led to large-scale projects such as Netflix’s WEBTOON. Sweet home; Nobility, an anime co-production between WEBTOON and Crunchyroll; and the upcoming Netflix original movie A trip toe Mi Ventana from Nostromo Pictures, based on the world hit Wattpad of the same name. Netflix has already seen huge success with Netflix and Komixx Entertainment’s adaptation of The kissing booth, the story Beth Reekles first wrote on Wattpad.
The WEBTOON Studios and Wattpad Studios projects have received public acclaim and have broken records. The WEBTOON comic Tower of God is a worldwide phenomenon with 4.5 billion reads. WEBTOON and Crunchyroll recently co-produced a hit anime adaptation, now available on Crunchyroll and HBO Max. The megahit teenager After racked up over 1.5 billion Wattpad reads, before becoming a bestselling Simon & Schuster novel and Voltage Pictures and Wattpad Studios film in 2019. The film won a People’s Choice Award and three Teen Choice Awards in 2019, before reproducing. five additional films in the franchise. by Hulu Light as a feather, produced by AwesomenessTV, Wattpad Studios and Grammnet, was nominated for 10 Daytime Emmy Awards over two seasons. In Southeast Asia, the Vidio Original series Light up, produced by Wattpad Studios and Screenplay Films, set a record 10 million views for Vidio in the first quarter of 2021. The series has been given the green light for a second season.
Publishing will remain a key part of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios’ strategy, enabling fully verticalized IP across TV, movies and books. Today, around ten entertainment projects from Wattpad WEBTOON Studios are, or will be, also published in book form. The first volume of the Eisner Award nominated WEBTOON graphic novel series by Rachel Smythe, Knowledge of Olympus, will be published by Penguin Random House in October 2021. Wattpad has enjoyed enormous success in publishing, working with renowned publishing partners such as Hachette in France, Penguin Random House UK, Mondadori Group in Italy, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial in Spain, AST in Russia and Anvil Publishing in the Philippines. Wattpad has published hundreds of books with partners around the world and 30 Wattpad Books branded titles since its launch in 2019.
“We are bringing a new era of diverse voices and incredible IPs to the public and an industry seeking both,” said Aron Levitz, president of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. “Companies are spending billions of dollars to capture the last 100 years of intellectual property. We’re looking to the future, with hundreds of millions of new stories to fuel the next 100 years of success on screens and shelves.
“Wattpad WEBTOON Studios is here to break down all remaining frontiers in entertainment,” said WEBTOON Founder and CEO Jun Koo Kim. “The Wattpad WEBTOON Studios team develops intellectual property across all formats, creates franchises and nurtures the fandoms that fuel them. And they do it with a full global perspective from day one. By combining local market expertise and audience data, Wattpad WEBTOON Studios can create local successes with regional partners or grow with a global audience in mind.
“YA and comic book adaptations are some of the biggest hits in publishing and entertainment. And Wattpad WEBTOON Studios has one of the largest libraries of the two on the planet, ”said Allen Lau, CEO and co-founder of Wattpad. “Wattpad WEBTOON Studios has an unrivaled IP library, powered by a new generation of creators, and the technology to create hits across all genres. We’re excited to combine WEBTOON and Wattpad’s IP leadership to create the world’s first truly modern studio.
“The Wattpad and WEBTOON stories are already in demand and known as one of the most exciting IPs in the entertainment market,” said Michelle Kwon, CEO of Studio N. “We are delighted to celebrate the launch of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios, and look forward to collaborating with the new team.
Wattpad WEBTOON Studios aligns existing WEBTOON Studios and Wattpad Studios projects and partnerships under one banner. WEBTOON Studios worked with The Jim Henson Company; Crunchy; Vertigo Entertainment – the production company behind the HE franchise and Lego movie; Bound Entertainment – the global studio run by Snowdrops and Okja producer Samuel Ha. Certain Wattpad Studios agreements and partnerships include collaborations with Sony Pictures Television, Erik Feig’s Picturestart, Bavaria Fiction in Germany, Leone Film Group in Italy, Turner Latin America’s Particular Crowd, Wise Entertainment in Brazil, CBC in Canada, Mediawan in France, MediaCorp in Singapore and others.
Wattpad WEBTOON Studios comes up with developing projects from some of the world’s most exciting entertainment partners. Some projects in development include Float, which will star and be produced by Robbie Amell; What happened that night, currently being adapted by Oscar nominated screenwriter David Arata; The dog, with a screenplay by Angela LaManna (Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly’s Mansion); The bad boy’s girl, with Leone Film Group; and Perfect dependency with Constantin Film and JB Pictures.
Wattpad’s vision is to entertain and connect the world through stories. Wattpad’s flagship app is a leading social storytelling platform, home to a community of over 90 million people who spend over 23 billion minutes per month engaging in original stories. Wattpad’s Story DNA machine learning technology enables the company to uncover remarkable stories from over a billion downloads written to the platform. Wattpad Studios and Wattpad Books are transforming entertainment and publishing, using data-driven insights to turn Wattpad stories into books, movies, and TV shows. Wattpad Brand Partnerships help brands build deep engagement with Gen Z consumers. The company is proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Learn more at company.wattpad.com.
WEBTOON® is the world’s first digital platform for visual storytelling. As the first modern digital comic book self-publishing and digital publishing platform, WEBTOON has revolutionized the way visual stories are created and consumed, empowering everyone to become a creator.
WEBTOON has also become a cultural and global phenomenon, pioneering the distribution and consumption of comics on the web. With an average of over 72 million monthly active users, more people are consuming WEBTOON series than most television shows. WEBTOON offers a large and diverse catalog of content from around the world, including romances, thrillers, fantasies, comedies and more. WEBTOON is the No.1 app among 16-24 year olds in Korea and also ranks first among the same group in other countries.
Launched in the US in 2014, WEBTOON offers thousands of creator-owned series with daily updated episodes. Also benefiting from partnerships with Legendary, POW !, Top Cow / Image, and more, WEBTOON takes storytelling to the next level. The creators have been nominated for several Eisner Awards and have won a plethora of Ringo Awards. The WEBTOON app is free to download for Android and iOS devices.