Free webtoons, which were started to secure traffic in portals, have become 'geese that lay golden eggs' that lead to growth in performance. Dramas and movies based on webtoons enjoy near-syndromic popularity, and their success in entering overseas markets based on platforms is also encouraging.
According to industry sources, jTBC's "Itaewon Class" has continued to draw attention by continuing its double-digit ratings after hitting 10 percent in just five episodes. The accumulated number of readers of the webtoon surpassed 12 million last month, as the original webtoon of the same name was re-highlighted by Kakao.
Dramas and movies based on webtoons are also growing. Including the 10 million-viewed film "Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days", "Inside Men: The Original", popular dramas "Incomplete Life", "Cheese in the Trap" and "What's Wrong With Secretary Kim" were made using the webtoons' intellectual property rights.
Naver Webtoon established Studio N, a subsidiary that is in charge of the planning and development of videos, in 2018 and started commercialization using webtoon and contents IP. Kakao has also joined forces to produce Kakao Page webtoons as movies or dramas through its video production subsidiary, Kakao M.
The growth of webtoons is also seen as an indicator. The trading volume of Naver Webtoons, including Line Webtoons and Line Manga estimated by the stock market, reached 600 billion won last year. Kakao posted 430 billion won in sales last year through Kakao Page, Daum Webtoon and Kakao Japan.
Along with the IP business, paid subscription and indirect advertisement (PPL), webtoons have been established as new sources of revenue, which boosts performance.
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"The Power of "Itaewon Class", 'The Goose That Lays Golden Eggs'"
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