“In the U.S. alone, Webtoon touts over 15 million monthly users, which is tremendous with room for major growth,” said Surge Licensing EVP Elan Freedman in a statement accompanying the announcement. “We look forward to introducing the Webtoon brand and its key titles to potential partners at the upcoming Licensing Expo.”
In addition, Allen Lau, CEO and co-founder of the online reading platform Wattpad, announced on his personal blog that he is stepping down from his post at Wattpad to become Executive Advisor to Webtoon. Lau is also an investor in the company and a member of the board.
Last year, Webtoon’s parent company, Naver, bought Wattpad for $600 million. In November, Webtoon unveiled a new graphic novel imprint, Webtoon Unscrolled, that will be published under the Wattpad umbrella (see “Webtoon Announces Webtoon Unscrolled”). The Webtoon Lore Olympus has been a best-seller in print (see “Top Author Graphic Novel Franchises – Fall 2021”), and several webtoons from the platform have been adapted into other media, including the Netflix series All of Us Are Dead. Wattpad and Webtoon inked a deal with ViacomCBS in December to develop series based on comics and novels on the platforms (see “Wattpad Webtoon Partners with ViacomCBS”).