Korean webtoon companies post record-high sales
Korean webtoon companies continue to post record-high sales and user numbers globally after a series of cross-border investments and deals aimed at broadening the user base of their platforms.
The monthly transaction volume on Kakao Piccoma’s Japanese webtoon service hit 77.6 billion won ($64.8 million) in January, the highest ever since the service began six years ago, according to Kakao on Thursday.
The transaction volume marks a 46 percent increase compared to the same month last year, also surpassing the annual transaction volume of 2018. The yearly figure was 722.7 billion won in 2021. Since 2016, people spent 1.3 trillion won on Piccoma.
Kakao Piccoma is the Japanese webtoon subsidiary 75 percent owned by Kakao.
It recently changed its name from Kakao Japan to Kakao Piccoma, pledging to expand into other regions. The service will launch in France within the first half of 2022 and other European countries afterward but the company did not specify which countries.
“We plan to diversify our business model within Japan and expand our global businesses to grow even further,” Kakao Piccoma CEO Kim Jae-yong said in a press release.
Naver Webtoon also reported record high user numbers.
The company’s webtoon service surpassed 82 million monthly active users around the world last month, the highest yet, the company said last week.
Naver Webtoon is offered in 100 countries in 10 different languages.
During the same month, the service saw a monthly transaction volume of 100 billion won.
One webtoon doing particularly well globally is the “7 Fates: Chakho” series, a fictional story based on K-pop boy band BTS. The series garnered 15 million views within just two days of its release on Jan. 15, the highest figure reached by any work on Naver Webtoon.
The popularity of webtoon-based dramas also helped boost readership.
“All of Us Are Dead,” the Korean Netflix original that hit No. 1 on the Top 10 TV Shows chart upon its release last month, led to its original webtoon series of the same title to be read 80 more times compared to before the release of the Netflix show, according to Naver.
The webtoons-turned-Netflix originals “Sweet Home” and “Love Alarm” also saw a surge in their readerships after the series were released on the streaming platform in 2019.
Last year, Kakao and Naver cited webtoons and web novels as their main focus. The web content industry growth worldwide and the popularity of film and television based on web content is boosting the revenue generated by the original content.
Kakao’s web content services' sales totaled 791.1 billion won last year, 50 percent higher than the previous year. Naver’s 2021 revenue from digital content also grew by 51 percent on year, standing at 692.9 billion won.
“Webtoons are attracting more readers from overseas and the numbers are growing steadily in all regions,” a Naver spokesperson said. “We will endeavor to make webtoons a global content form as Korean content in general gains more attention.”
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]