In January, when Naver announced it was acquiring Wattpad, the company set expectations for a Wattpad and WEBTOON merger.
Wattpad is a popular social storytelling platform. Naver, a South Korean internet giant, completed its acquisition of the company on May 10.
Naver already owned WEBTOON, a digital comics platform.
And now, Naver combining the studio divisions of the two platforms to create Wattpad WEBTOON Studios, and the parent company is committing $100 million to the venture for development and production financing.
Strengths of the Wattpad and WEBTOON Merger
As explained in the January 29 post, this deal is designed to accelerate the platforms’ ability to turn stories into winning projects.
WEBTOON Studios brings its expertise in digital comics and popular, internationally-recognized titles, such as Tower of God, which has 4.5 billion views.
And there’s Sweet Home; Noblesse, an anime project WEBTOON co-produced with Crunchyroll for Netflix.
Meanwhile, Wattpad Studios is a data-backed platform that offers hundreds of millions of stories. And it has an audience-driven model that gives the company the ability to find and develop hits.
After accumulated more than 1.5 billion reads on Wattpad, became a best-selling novel from Simon & Schuster, and was made into a by Voltage Pictures and Wattpad Studios. After that, five more films were added to the franchise.
WEBTOON Studios and Wattpad Studios projects have received mainstream acclaim and have broken records.
Wattpad/WEBTOON press release
Naver expects that if the platforms able to do that individually, once combined, they’ll be an international heavyweight in IP, digital comics and web novels.
Plus, the merger creates a combined pool of over 166 million users.
Plans for the Future
After the glue dries on the Wattpad and WEBTOON merger, publishing will be a key component of the strategy. The world can expect to see TV, film, and books.
According to Variety, the new Wattpad Webtoon Studios arrives on the scene with over 100 TV and film projects in development or production with partners around the world. And it has a slate of books and international imprints.
For example, Rachel Smythe’s Eisner award-nominated graphic novel series, Lore Olympus: Volume One, will be published by Penguin Random House in October 2021.
“YA and comic adaptations are some of the biggest hits in publishing and entertainment. And Wattpad WEBTOON Studios has one of the biggest libraries of both on the planet,” said Wattpad CEO & co-founder Allen Lau.
We’re looking to the future, with hundreds of millions of new stories to power the next 100 years of hits on screens and bookshelves.”