Deadline reported that Webtoon, the world's most successful digital comic publisher, is expanding with a newly launched production division, Webtoon Studios. The new production arm will pair up the publisher's massive library of titles and creators with entertainment platforms, including film, television, interactive entertainment, licensing, and merchandising.
"Today marks a huge step for Webtoon," CEO Ken Kim said. "Webcomics have grown into a cultural phenomenon over the past 15 years – especially for younger generations. This is another important step in building a greater bridge from our creator's works on Webtoon to film, TV, and beyond."
Taylor Grant, SVP of IP development: "Webtoon IP has had a tremendously successful track record in other mediums. Recent global hits, Tower of God, Noblesse, and The God of High School, all released in 2020, showcase how beloved our series are around the world."
The company had previously partnered with companies like The Jim Henson Company as well as Crunchyroll, which recently produced anime adaptations of Webtoon series Tower of God, The God of High School, and Noblesse. On Monday, the platform announced that it will expand its partnerships with Vertigo Entertainment (IT, The Lego Movie) and will team with Samuel Ha's Bound Entertainment (Snowpiercer, Okja) for a live-action sci-fi series. Webtoon will also collaborate with Rooster Teeth Studios, which will serve as both the animation studio and co-producer of a supernatural-themed action series.
"With access to thousands of comic series read by over 67 million monthly readers, Webtoon Studios will partner with our pool of talented artists and writers to build franchises across all media platforms." Grant continued, "Webtoon Studios represents an important next phase in our evolution as a true multi-platform company. This is a bold investment by Webtoon in both our incredible community of webcomic creators as well as our partners. With multiple deals currently in the works with major studios, producers, and production companies, we'll have much more exciting news to share in the coming months."
WebtoonStudios.com will launch an online portal that provides updated information on Webtoon IP in development, stats on readership, upcoming projects, as well as a browsable portfolio. The current online portfolio is a small sampling of projects that are available or in active development and will be updated monthly.
Webtoon features a massive array of web-based comics that spans several genres, including romance, thriller, fantasy, comedy, horror, and more. It encourages LGBTQ stories and representation, becoming a safe space for diverse stories and representation. The platform was originally launched in South Korea in 2004 before reaching the U.S. in 2014. It has served as a home for thousands of creator-owned series, with episodes updating daily.