Lezhin Entertainment, a Korean startup that offers webtoons (internet lingo for online comics), established a strategic partnership with Korea’s entertainment company, Fantagio. Through this partnership, Fantagio and Lezhin plan to turn webtoons into visual images and vice versa, and promote webtoon’s marketing values.
As one of the biggest entertainment agencies in Korea, Fantagio is the home of many Korean star actors and singers such as Jung-woo Ha, Kang-joon Seo, and Sae-ron Kim. Fantagio and Lezhin plan to promote both companies’ works by featuring Fantagio’s celebrities in their marketing campaigns. They will also collaborate in producing original webtoons and film as well.
Comics and films are seen as effective complements of each other. Comic-based films, such as Spiderman, Hulk, Captain America, as well as Korean films Snowpiercer, Mr. Go, and Misaenghave fared well in the box-office. Webtoons, for their low production budgets and ability to draw in mass audiences, are increasingly used as pre-release marketing tools for movies.
As one of their first collaborative projects, Lezhin and Fantagio produced a promotional webtoon for the 2014 film Kundo: Age of the Rampant. The promotional webtoon hit 2.5 million views.
It is estimated that about thirty percent of the 40 million South Korean internet users regularly read webtoons. One of the biggest webtoon service providers in Korea, Naver Webtoon, has a daily readership of 6.2 million with more than 500 publishing webtoonists.
With the growing popularity of webtoons, major portal websites as well as mobile carrier and mobile messenger companies have been joining the industry. The Korean webtoon industry, whose value was 50 billion KRW 4 years ago, is expected to increase tenfold by the end of next year.
This past March, Lezhin Entertainment Co. received 5 billion KRW funding from a South Korea based online game company NCSoft for collaborative webtoon-based game projects.
Lezhin Comics features more than 200 webtoons by celebrated authors NeonB, Seong-woo Park, Shin Il-sook, and Gasfard. With more than 2 million registered users, Lezhin has been breaking the preconception that webtoon services don’t make money. While most webtoons are free online, Lezhin also offers paid webtoons as well that are of higher content quality.
Lezhin Comics is available on its official website and major app stores.
–Inspired by Platum