The Korean tech giant Naver, which owns the popular mobile online comics platform Webtoon, just announced how much it will pay English-language comics creators. The results are surprising in an industry that isn’t known for being kind to artists and writers. Since 2020, Webtoon has paid out more than $27 million to English-language creators, which is more than $1 million per month on average. Since it started its program to pay creators in the US in 2019, that’s an increase of nearly 75%.
These results are in line with Webtoon’s huge growth over the past few years. The company just announced that its app has more than 82 million monthly active users worldwide, including 15 million in the US.
When users sign up for serialized stories, the creators get paid. For a small monthly fee, subscribers can watch new episodes before anyone else. The most popular things on the site, like Lore Olympus by Rachel Smyth, get a lot of views and subscribers. The top-earning creator made more than $9 million last year in Webtoon’s home country of South Korea, where the market for this kind of content and business model is more developed.
Ken Kim, CEO of Webtoon Americas, said that some of the people who make Webtoons are some of the most talented, creative, and interesting people in the history of comics. “Our technology platform for telling stories helps every kind of creator build an audience around the world and make money from their work.” At a time when comics have never been more popular, we’re very proud of the creator economy and ecosystem we’ve built to support and celebrate webtoon creators.
As with any platform, there is a power curve: a few of the best features bring in most of the money, views, and subscribers, while a long tail of content brings in much less. But Webtoon Global CEO Junkoo Kim said last year that even on average, some South Korean creators were making six figures (USD) using the same model that the company uses in the US.
Webtoon uses advanced data analytics to help connect audiences with new work and creators, with the goal of making more titles into best sellers. The company also gives creators other ways to make money, such as TV, book, and movie deals through Wattpad Webtoon Studios and deals with publishers and licensors.
The company also announced a new tipping system for creators in its Canvas (user-generated content) environment. This is another way that the new mobile digital comics space is giving creators ways to make a living doing their work outside of traditional publishing gatekeepers.
Webtoon’s VP of Content, David Lee, said, “We’ve built something truly special: a platform where every comic creator can build a global fanbase and make money from their work.” Since 2004, we’ve been perfecting our creator-first business model in Korea. Now, we’re bringing what we’ve learned and how much we’ve made to our amazing creators in the US. But we’re just getting started, and as we grow the local market and help more creators make more money doing what they love, you’ll see more creators making more money on Webtoon.
It’s important to note that there’s an even bigger number below that big creator payout number. Webtoon says that its gross merchandise volume reached $900 million in 2021 and that the company is expanding into new markets and media around the world.
Webtoon hopes that giving creators a piece of the company’s growth will give it an edge when competing for the talent and content that the next generation wants. Last year, the market for comics in the US grew by more than 60%, reaching more than $2.1 billion. This shows that there is a huge demand for sequential art in all forms and across all genres. With its well-tuned mobile app and data-driven business model, Webtoon has already found a way to get around the high costs and complicated nature of traditional distribution, and its wide range of genre-specific content has brought in a new audience for comics.
Is all of this enough to help the mobile-first digital app turn the US comics business on its head? It gives people who make things something to think about.
NOTE: If you’re going to San Diego Comic-Con this week and want to learn more about this business, I’ll be moderating a panel called “From Fan Art to Franchise: The Future of User Generated Content” on Thursday, July 21 at 7 p.m.Webtoon VP David Lee,
creator and creator instant miso, YouTube star Steven He, and reality-show producer Ken Mok will all appear. Wattpad/Webtoon content will also be shown on Saturday at 1 pm during the panel “Manga, Webcomics, and Anime: The New Formats and Fandoms Dominating Entertainment” with Taylor Grant, Head of Global Animation, Wattpad Webtoon Studios; Gita Rebbapragada, CMO, Crunchyroll; Michael Gombos, Sr. Director of Licensed Publications at Dark Horse; and Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter.
READ MORE ARTICLES;
- Ralf Rangnick has been a disaster at manchester united
- Why tapping should be avoided: Reasons To Avoid Tapping Scripts
- Darren dixon goldman sachs: YOUNGEST BLACK PARTNER, TO START OWN FUND
- Trae young positioned to be face of atlanta sports
- kate Hudson brings: her inbloom wellness products to bluestone