Annual creator payments have increased by nearly 75% since 2019
An upcoming tipping system for CANVAS Creators will add a new way for creators to make money on the platform
2021 was a record-breaking year of growth for WEBTOON, as global MAU grew to 82 million, and a stream of adaptations brought WEBTOON creators and digital comics to new audiences
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–WEBTOON, the world’s largest digital comics platform, today revealed that on-platform payments to English-language creators have surpassed USD $27 million since 2020.* Since launching its first US creator-monetization program in 2019, creator payments have increased by more than 75%, as WEBTOON continues to build a Creator Economy for digital comic artists.
Supported by a growing number of creator monetization programs, WEBTOON has paid out an average of more than a million dollars to English-language creators every month since 2020. WEBTOON offers multiple avenues for creators to earn money on the platform, from ad-sharing and on-platform purchases, to CANVAS Creator Rewards and Originals contracts. Originals Creators receive generous advances and guaranteed minimum earnings. The company will also launch a new tipping system for CANVAS Creators this year, expanding the ways for fans to reward creators directly on WEBTOON. With a robust international localization program, WEBTOON creators are also eligible to have their work translated and localized for new markets, expanding their fanbase and earning opportunities.
WEBTOON has pioneered the growing Creator Economy for digital comic artists in the US, first establishing a local creator monetization program in 2019. After connecting a diverse new generation of comic creators with millions of fans around the world, the move allowed thousands of creators to begin monetizing their content on the platform. WEBTOON enables comic creators to reach a global audience of 82 million comic-lovers on the platform, build a global fandom for their work, and make money in multiple ways.
“WEBTOON creators are some of the most talented, creative, and captivating in the history of comics,” said Ken Kim, CEO of WEBTOON Americas. “Our storytelling technology platform supports every type of creator, allowing them to build a global audience and make money from their work. In a time when comics have never been more popular, we’re incredibly proud of the growing Creator Economy and ecosystem we’ve built to celebrate and support WEBTOON creators.”
On platform earnings are just one way WEBTOON creators make money. Creators are also eligible for lucrative TV, book, and film adaptation deals with Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. WEBTOON’s global IP ecosystem and international TV, film, and publishing businesses create significant opportunities for creators to earn money in new ways while building new fans for their work in new formats.
WEBTOON plans to continue to grow the Creator Economy for digital comic artists, expanding the market for fans and creators globally. Founded in 2004 in Korea, WEBTOON has transformed the market for Korean comic creators. The company’s top-earning creator in Korea earned more than KR 12 billion (USD $9 million) last year, demonstrating the potential for massive growth in English-language markets.
“We’ve built something truly special at WEBTOON: a platform where every comic creator can build a global fandom and make money from their work,” said David Lee, VP of Content at WEBTOON. “We’ve honed our creator-first business model since 2004 in Korea, and now we’re bringing those learnings and earnings to our incredible US creators. But we’re just getting started, and you’re going to see more creators making more money on WEBTOON as we grow the local market to help creators earn money doing what they love.”
WEBTOON’s US business has seen continued creator and user growth since entering the market in 2014. The company currently has 15M MAU in the US, growing 50% over 2020. Globally, WEBTOON added 10M users between Jan 2021 and Feb 2022, with 82M MAU today. As digital comics continued to grow in popularity, WEBTOON’s annual total Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) reached USD $900 million in 2021.
A series of high-profile content collaborations and partnerships with brands like Marvel, DC Comics, Archie Comics, and HYBE–for the record-breaking BTS-inspired 7FATES: CHAKHO–along with hit TV and film adaptations, and best-selling graphic novelizations have brought WEBTOON digital comics to the mainstream like never before in the US.
Netflix has seen enormous success with WEBTOON adaptations in the past year. Global streaming hits All of Us are Dead, Sweet Home, Hellbound, Love and Leashes, and The Sound of Magic, all started on WEBTOON. All of Us are Dead spent 11 weeks in the Netflix Global Top 10 (Non Eng Series) earlier this year. Netflix’s hit LGBTIAQ+ romance Heartstopper is also a popular digital comic on WEBTOON CANVAS.
In publishing, Rachel Smythe’s global WEBTOON sensation Lore Olympus reached #1 on the New York Times’ best-seller list when it was released in November 2021. The 1.2 billion-view digital comic recently received its second Eisner Award nomination, and is in development as an animated series from Wattpad WEBTOON Studios and the Jim Henson Company. Miriam Bonastre Tur’s teen hit Hooky also reached the New York Times bestseller list last fall. WEBTOON Unscrolled, a new imprint from the Wattpad WEBTOON Book Group will launch its first titles in Fall 2022.
WEBTOON® is the world’s largest digital comics platform, home to some of the biggest artists, IP, and fandoms in comics. As the global leader and pioneer of the mobile webcomic format, WEBTOON has revolutionized the comics industry for comic fans and creators. Today, a diverse new generation of international comic artists have found a home on WEBTOON, where the company’s storytelling technology allows anyone to become a creator and build a global audience for their stories.
With a massive catalog of incredible digital comics from rising stars on WEBTOON CANVAS platform, and a growing roster of superstar WEBTOON Originals creators, there’s something for every type of comic fan on WEBTOON. With an average of 82+ million monthly active users, and WEBTOON adaptations on Netflix, HBO Max, and other screens around the world, WEBTOON’s passionate fandoms are the new face of pop culture. The company has worked with DC Comics, Marvel Entertainment, HYBE, and many more of the world’s biggest entertainment brands.
The WEBTOON app is free to download on Android and iOS devices.
*Earnings reflect on-platform English-language creator payouts only. This amount does not include global creator payouts, or earnings from TV, film, or publishing adaptations.
BECK Media for WEBTOON