Kakao Page hopes 'Steel Rain' series can offer breakthrough for IP goals
Lee Jin-soo, CEO of the entertainment company Kakao Page, has big ambitions for the accumulated intellectual property (IP) his company possesses and believes that director Yang Woo-seok’s “Steel Rain” universe could offer the breakthrough for the success of the industry, he said at an online press event on Tuesday.
Lee and director Yang participated in the online press event that was live-streamed on YouTube to discuss the future of the local IP business.
Lee introduced Kakao Page as a “story entertainment company” that creates web novels, webtoons, drama series and films that he hopes one day will eclipse the prestige of the Marvel universe.
“I believe that the ‘Steel Rain’ universe is at the crossroads of our development,” Lee said. “What I felt as I watched over this project for a decade is that the theme, plot sequence and the quality of this scenario tops [all stories] in Korea.”
Director Yang’s "Steel Rain" universe began with the 2011 webtoon series “Steel Rain” which was published on Daum and Kakao Page. His 2018 film “Steel Rain” was based on the webtoon series “Steel Rain 2,” and his upcoming film “Steel Rain 2: Summit” is based on the third series “The Summit: Steel Rain 3.”
The director noted how his IP universe can expand further.
“The reason why I wrote ‘Steel Rain’ is because the Korean Peninsula failed to enter a peace regime after the Cold War era,” he explained. “While U.S.-China conflict is deepening even further, if the story expands, [I believe] east Asia could be the flash point of the setting of the Third World War, with the Korean Peninsula right in the middle of it.”
Lee also predicts that crossover projects like "Steel Rain" will become more frequent to the point where the meaning of "original" content won't matter anymore. In May, the company signed a partnership with film distribution company Merry Christmas to develop the IP of the upcoming sci-fi film "Space Sweepers" into other formats.
"For consumers, separating the original content from other deviating IP doesn't matter," Lee said. "What's important is the story."
As of now, including “Steel Rain,” Kakao Page possesses 7,000 original IPs, in which Lee hopes the company can expand globally to attract 70 million users daily.
“That’s about 1 percent of the entire global population,” Lee said. “That’s the [current] target that we’ve set for our company to reach one day. In order to do that, we hope to establish the proper ecosystem in which directors, production companies and writers launch, incubate, and develop their IPs. Globally, we are planning to expand our IP content in other languages as well. [Through these two goals] I firmly believe that we can show the power of ‘K-story’ — our own Marvel-like IP universe in the near future.”
BY LEE JAE-LIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]