There is a new OTT partnership in the animation arena.
WarnerMedia’s Crunchyroll, a streaming unit that publishes and distributes anime and manga, has aligned with Webtoon, which specializes in web comics.
The two will develop, produce, distribute and license new shows, based on Webtoon's catalog of properties. The 15-year-old Webtoon, which originated in South Korea, is a free app. It boast a large inventory of digital comics, including “Dr. Frost.” “My Dear Cold-Blooded King” and “Renegade,” which debuted in July.
And its popularity is impressive.
Webtoon claims more than 55 million monthly active users and a daily readership of 15 million+. The sci-fi, fantasy and romantic web series are updated regularly.
It’s also partnered with Lucasfilm and TopCow/Image Comics.
Now, marry those numbers to Crunchyroll and the result is serious reach.
With over 2 million subscribers and 50 million registered users, Crunchyroll delivers Japanese animation to 200+ countries. On the fan front, there are various events, such as Crunchyroll Expo and Crunchyroll Games. The Crunchyroll anime catalog includes “Attack on Titan,” “Naruto Shippuden” and “Dragon Ball Super.” All extend the brand's global popularity.
Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll, stated: “Webtoon has a tremendous catalogue of content and creators that resonate deeply with our audience.” While Taylor Grant, senior vice president, IP development at Webtoon, touted the “crossover appeal with our audiences, and exceptional creative synergy on the types of stories we want to tell.”
Details of the initial series are expected soon.
Prior to the partnership announcement, Screen Rant reports a deal was made to adapt Webtoon’s most popular comic, “Lore Olympus,” into an animated series by The Jim Henson Company. It updates the Greek myth about the meeting between Persephone and Hades.
Separately, Disney+ recently listed shows and movies on Twitter that will be available to stream when the service debuts next month. In addition to several Marvel properties, like "X-Men: The Animated Series," it includes the 1990s TV series "Gargoyles,"in which a clan of mystical gargoyles turned to stone by day, but come to life at night.
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is also partnering with Youku, the Alibaba Group's streaming platform, to produce the animated series "Little Luban." Elements of Chinese culture and philosophy will be part of the story line. The two companies will also develop and license various consumer products.