Webtoons The Tip of an Iceberg1)
Webtoons have a global impact on media trends. According to the "2020 Cartoon Industry White Paper" of the Korea Creative Content Agency, the webtoon market is worth 7 trillion won, and when the value is converted into mobile content, the potential market reaches 100 trillion won. The reason for this is due to OSMU (One Source Multi Use). OSMU means increasing added value by using one source in various fields. Webtoons are advancing into various potential fields such as web dramas, movies, and animations. For example, Netflix's "Kingdom," which is based on Lezhin Comics' "God's Kingdom," has been released in 190 countries around the world with a profit of 2 billion won per episode. A prequel to the original series, "Kingdom: Ashin of the North," ranked second in global ratings among all Netflix movies for a week after its release and ranked 10th in the U.S. market. In this way, webtoons do not remain only as webtoons, but are attempting to move into various fields and attain box office success. In response, Bang Chuseong, CEO of the Cinema Center, said, "To create a new story, development time and cost are very high." Nevertheless, webtoons are very attractive to producers because they have already been verified for their power and popularity and have been completed. As such, webtoons develop based on their potential market.
Along with the success of webtoon-based content, webtoons are becoming a global trend. Naver Webtoon ranks first among the Google Store cartoon app revenue for 100 countries with annual transactions of 800 billion won and 67 million global Monthly Active Users. Naver countries to invest in web novel content platforms, such as acquiring the Canadian web novel site "Watpad." Also, Kakao has acquired the U.S. web novel sites "Radish" and "Tapas." With the development of the field, the foundation for global webtoons has been laid. Along with aggressive investment, the introduction of improved technology has also affected the globalization of webtoons. Most American cartoons are just digital and do not allow interactive communication between the readers and cartoonists through live comments. In this way, the most remarkable feature of webtoons is their real time comment function. Secretary-General Kwon Changho said, "As physical restrictions have disappeared through online platforms, webtoons have unlimited pages and attract readers around the world." As such, webtoons have established their own service direction and trend with bold investment and techniques.
1) Choi Injun, "Overcoming Japanese Manga and Occupying Netflix. Three Secrets to Success in K-webtoons", The Joongang, January 12, 2021