Webtoons acquires Wattpad
Webtoon and Wattpad may soon be inextricably linked. Naver, the South Korean internet giant behind the Webtoon digital comics platform, will acquire Wattpad for a deal worth US$600 million in cash and stocks. The two websites will have a “connected ecosystem” after the acquisition is complete. Neither side has revealed what that means exactly, but The Hollywood Reporter says they’ll share a platform for their combined audience of 160 million users.
Wattpad is a website and app for writers to publish new user-generated stories. It aims to create social communities around stories for both amateur and established writers. In other words, it’s a Webtoons for writers. According to Variety:
Wattpad says its global community spends more than 23 billion minutes monthly engaged with original stories spanning genres including sci-fi, romance, fantasy and horror. To date, around 1,500 Wattpad stories have been published as books or adapted for TV and film. The company’s Wattpad Studios division has developed TV shows and films with studios like Sony Pictures Television, Picturestart in the U.S., Germany’s Bavaria Fiction, France’s Mediawan, Brazil’s Wise Entertainment, Canada’s CBC and Singapore’s MediaCorp. In 2019, Wattpad launched Wattpad Books, which has published 21 books to date.
In October, Naver was fined 26.7 billion won, around $23 million, by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission for manipulating its search algorithm to give preferential treatment to its own services and contents over rivals. (Source: ZDnet)