[Source: Naver Webtoon]
Naver Webtoon Corp. in a faceoff with archrival Kakao on the global digital comics landscape brought K-pop sensation BTS and superheroes under DC Comics onboard to raise competitiveness on its contents library.
The web comics operator under Naver Corp. announced on Wednesday it has struck a partnership deal with BTS label Hybe and DC Comics for its ‘Super Casting’ project. Under the partnership deal, the webcomic platform will create various locally made web comics and original content featuring BTS and other K-pop artists under Hybe and popular characters owned by DC such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
“Our new BTS-themed content will help us expand our readership to global K-pop fans. We will also roll out completely original content of DC comics that has not been published yet,” said CEO Kim Jun-koo at an online press conference.
Naver Webtoon aims to distinguish itself from its rivals with active collaboration with industry’s top content producers and outside IP creators. Through partnership with global leading content producers, the digital comics platform aims to build its own IP value chain and expand the ecosystem of the content industry.
“We will meet global fans through web novels, web comics, videos and other various forms of contents created based on our IP value chain,” Kim said.
Naver Webtoon CEO Kim Jun-koo. [Photo by Naver Webtoon]
Launched in 2004, Naver Webtoon, known as Webtoon Entertainment overseas, has more than 6 million writers and 160 million readers across the globe, according to the company.
Revenue from its content business jumped 28 percent on year to 144.8 billion won ($123.34 million) in the second quarter ended June, and the average income of webtoon artists amounted to 280 million won, doubling from a year ago, thanks to the company’s Page Profit Share (PPS) program introduced in 2013.
The PPS program, a revenue sharing model developed by Naver Webtoon, allows writers to earn profit beyond manuscript fees such as advertisements fees, character goods and other paid content sales. Under the program, the highest-paid creator raked in 12.4 billion won last year and creators with experience of less than one year reported an average income of 150 million won.
“Based on our PPS model, Naver Webtoon was able to adopt the YouTube-style business model, which helped us expand our presence in the global webtoon market. We will continue making new attempts to grow our storytelling content into the core of the global entertainment industry,” Kim said.
By Oh Dae-seok and Lee Soo-min
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