Netflix Links With Messaging App Line for Original Animated Series

Netflix 'Line Friends' - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Netflix

Los Angeles-based Kickstart Entertainment will co-produce the dialogue-free comedy show based on the 'Brown & Friends' characters.

Netflix is partnering with a subsidiary of Japanese messaging app Line on an original slapstick comedy animation series featuring the Brown & Friends characters, which began life as emoji-like 'stickers' on the service.

The CG animation will be dialogue-free and feature five of the Line Friends characters. Los Angeles-based Kickstart Entertainment will be a co-producer on the series. More details are set to be announced in the future.

Netflix has invested heavily in original local content in Japan, though this will be the first series in partnership with Line.

"With an original animated series on Netflix, Line Friends will enhance its competitiveness in global content, and strengthen its presence in the entertainment industry," said Line Friends vice president KD Kim.

Line launched ‘stickers’ in 2013 and they have since spread to other messaging services around the world. Line Friends was established as a subsidiary of Line Corp. in 2015 to leverage the IP of the characters from Line and its South Korean parent company Naver.

Line itself debuted in Japan in June 2011 after the huge earthquake and tsunami in March of that year led to disruption of mobile phone networks, but left people able to send messages. The service now has around 700 million users worldwide.