Naver Webtoon, CJ ENM, Studio Dragon team up in Japan
Naver Webtoon, CJ ENM and Studio Dragon are establishing a joint venture in Japan to specialize in local drama production, the three companies said Thursday.
Line Digital Frontier, a Japanese webtoon subsidiary of Naver Webtoon, and the two other companies will invest 30 billion won ($23 million) in total, but each company's stake was not disclosed.
The company is tentatively named Studio Dragon Japan and will be incorporated before the end of June.
The new company will focus on producing drama series for the Japanese content market, using a rich pool of stories from Naver Webtoon and the content production capacity of CJ ENM and Studio Dragon.
Its dramas will be made for online streaming services, as opposed to the television dramas that currently dominate the Japanese market, according to Naver Webtoon.
“We will make known the excellence of our original stories through high-quality dramas and become a global player that top-tier entertainment companies come to first,” said Kim Shin-bae, the head of Naver Webtoon Japan Business.
Naver Webtoon has been trying to expand its presence in the Japanese market, the third-largest in the world with a size of $191.3 billion as of 2021.
Last March, Line Digital Frontier, owned 70 percent by Naver’s webtoon subsidiary Webtoon Entertainment and 30 percent by Webtoon Entertainment’s subsidiary Naver Webtoon, bought Japanese electronic book company eBOOK Initiative Japan for an unspecified amount.
CJ ENM has also been trying to improve its global competitiveness. It bought 80 percent of the "scripted business" of California-based production company Endeavor for $775 million last November, the largest investment ever for the company.
It also signed an agreement with Paramount in December to service the entertainment giant’s Paramount+ streaming service through its own Tving starting in June.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]