Social storytelling platform Wattpad and digital comic platform Webtoon announced a merger of their studio divisions to create Wattpad Webtoon Studios with the parent company of both, Naver, committing $100 million for development and production financing.
Wattpad, based in Toronto, was recently acquired by Naver a South Korean internet conglomerate that owned Webtoon. The new, combined studio will strengthen Naver’s global position in IP, digital comics and web novels.
Wattpad Webtoon Studios will create global fan and data-driven TV shows, films, and books, unlocking the combined companies’ global IP libraries and growing roster of creators and fandoms across genres. It currently has more than 100 projects in development or production.
After launching and building the Wattpad Studios brand since 2017, Aron Levitz will step into the role of president of Wattpad Webtoon Studios. Taylor Grant will lead the Webtoon entertainment portfolio, Eric Lehrman will lead the Wattpad side. Ashleigh Gardner will continue to lead all aspects of publishing and Dexter Ong will lead international business.
Productions include Netflix’s Webtoon-originated Sweet Home; Noblesse, an anime co-production between Webtoon and Crunchyroll, and upcoming Netflix original film A Traves de Mi Ventana from Nostromo Pictures, based on the global Wattpad hit of the same name.
Netflix previously launched the Netflix and Komixx Entertainment adaptation of The Kissing Booth, the story Beth Reekles first wrote on Wattpad.
Hit Webtoon comics include Tower of God. Webtoon and Crunchyroll recently co-produced a hit anime adaptation now available on Crunchyroll and HBO Max.
The teen hit After accumulated more than 1.5 billion reads on Wattpad, before becoming a best-selling novel from Simon & Schuster and film from Voltage Pictures and Wattpad Studios in 2019. The film won a People’s Choice Award and Three Teen Choice Awards in 2019, going on to spawn five additional films in the franchise.
Hulu’s Light as a Feather, produced by AwesomenessTV, Wattpad Studios, and Grammnet, was nominated for 10 Daytime Emmy Awards over two seasons.
A dozen Wattpad Webtoon Studios entertainment projects have or will also be published as books. The first volume of Rachel Smythe’s Eisner Award-nominated Webtoon graphic novel series, Lore Olympus, 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 launching in 2019.
“We’re bringing a new era of diverse voices and incredible IP to audiences and an industry looking for both,” said Levitz. “Businesses are spending billions of dollars to capture the last 100 years of IP. 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.”
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