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The Canadian storytelling app Wattpad has merged its film, TV and books studio with Webtoon Studios, the entertainment division of Webtoon, the digital comics platform run by Naver, the South Korean Internet conglomerate.
The tie-up to create Wattpad Webtoon Studios was expected after Naver acquired Wattpad for $600 million to create a platform with a joint global monthly audience of 160 million users. Naver has committed $100 million in development and production financing to greenlight projects for the newly-combined studio, under the leadership of Aron Levitz as president.
Wattpad will remain headquartered in Toronto under the leadership of co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen. “We’re bringing a new era of diverse voices and incredible IP to audiences and an industry looking for both. Businesses are spending billions of dollars to capture the last 100 years of IP. We’re looking to the future, with hundreds of millions of new stories to power the next 100 years of hits on screens and bookshelves,” said Aron Levitz in a statement.
Wattpad uses its data-driven machine-learning technology to identify and co-produce YA and teen projects with international entertainment players, including Sony Pictures Television, Universal Cable Productions and Entertainment One.
The storytelling app has also collaborated with Mediaset, Lagardere Studios and Huayi Brothers Korea to identify and develop TV shows from fiction story uploads shared on the online publishing platform.
Wattpad Webtoon Studios arrives with projects in development, including Float, which will star and be produced by Robbie Amell; What Happened That Night, adapted by David Arata; The Hound, with a script by Angela LaManna (Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor); and The Bad Boy’s Girl, a partnership with the Leone Film Group.
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