Wattpad and Webtoon merge studios with $ 100 million production funding


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Wattpad, one of the best user-provided fiction apps, combines its TV, movies and books division with the studio operations of the digital comic platform Webtoon. The combo comes a month after South Korean company Naver, owner of Webtoon, closed the Wattpad acquisition for $ 600 million.

Naver said he would fund the newly merged Wattpad Webtoon Studios with a $ 100 million commitment to development and production funding – with the goal of producing a new line of fan-focused entertainment on a global scale. .

Wattpad Webtoon Studios will be headed by President Aron Levitz (photo above), who has overseen Wattpad Studios since its inception in 2016. The new division has over 100 TV and film projects in development or production with partners around the world, as well as a list of international books and prints . It will tap into stories among Webtoon and Wattpad’s combined audience of over 166 million users.

“We are bringing a new era of diverse voices and incredible PIs to the public and to an industry seeking both,” Levitz said in a statement. “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.

Levitz reports are Taylor Grant, who runs the Webtoon entertainment portfolio; Eric Lehrman, overseeing the Wattpad entertainment portfolio; Ashleigh Gardner, who will continue to lead all aspects of the publishing; Dexter Ong, who will lead international affairs.

The companies’ television and film projects include Netflix’s “Sweet Home,” created by Webtoon; “Noblesse”, an anime co-production between Webtoon and Crunchyroll; and the upcoming Netflix original film “A Través de Mi Ventana” from Nostromo Pictures, based on the world hit Wattpad of the same name.

Previously, Wattpad worked with Netflix on the film adaptation of “The Kissing Booth,” based on the story Beth Reekles first wrote on Wattpad. “After,” an Anna Todd story, racked up over 1.5 billion Wattpad reads before becoming a bestselling Simon & Schuster novel and Voltage Pictures and Wattpad Studios film in 2019.

Publishing will remain a “key part” of Wattpad Webtoon Studios’ strategy, the companies said. Books on hold include the first volume in Rachel Smythe’s Webtoon graphic novel series, “Lore Olympus,” which will be published by Penguin Random House in October 2021. Wattpad has published hundreds of books with partners around the world and 30 titles from the Wattpad Books imprint since launch in 2019.

“Wattpad Webtoon Studios is here to break down all remaining frontiers when it comes to entertainment,” Webtoon founder and CEO Jun Koo Kim said in a statement. “The Wattpad Webtoon Studios team develops intellectual property across all formats, creates franchises and nurtures the fandoms that fuel them.”

Under the terms of the Naver acquisition, Wattpad remains based in Toronto. The company plans to grow its teams by 50% in 2021, and plans to hire nearly 100 people in engineering, marketing, content and more. Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen will continue to lead Wattpad, with Lau reporting to Kim of Webtoon.

“The YA and comic book adaptations are some of the biggest successes in publishing and entertainment,” commented Lau. “And Wattpad Webtoon Studios has one of the largest libraries of the two on the planet.”

Naver, founded in 1999, operates Korea’s leading search engine and largest e-commerce platform. The conglomerate owns other services and brands, including Webtoon, the Japan’s Line messaging app, and the Snow video app.

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