S. Korean web cartoon company partners with popular comics studio targeting consumers in US and France

By Park Sae-jin Posted : June 4, 2020, 15:16 Updated : June 4, 2020, 15:16

[Courtesy of Lezhin Entertainment]

SEOUL -- Lezhin Entertainment, a web cartoon company in South Korea, partnered with Kidari Studio, the country's largest webcomics production studio, to release webtoons targeting young consumers in the United States and France.

Web cartoons, widely known as webtoons or webcomics, are digital comic books created to fit into web or mobile platforms. South Korea is the birthplace of webtoons, with its webtoon market valued at one trillion won ($821 million). South Korean digital comic books are popular in eastern Asian countries.

Lezhin Entertainment, a freemium webtoon platform operator, said in a statement on Thursday that the company has forged a partnership with Kidari to exclusively provide the Fench version of Lezhin's digital comic book content to Delitoon, a French webtoon platform. Lezhin will release webtoon content created by Kidari artists in English for U.S. consumers.

The freemium service, also known as micropayment service, is a form of pay-to-get-more content service that offers customers free content but they are required to sign up for paid subscriptions to gain access to exclusive premium content.

Delitoon was first launched in France in 2011 and Kidari bought a 20.9 percent stake in the French digital comics company in July last year. Delitoon offers webtoons created by French and South Korean artists. South Korean content is translated into French.

Lezhin, launched in 2013, is the pioneer in South Korea's webtoon industry by adopting freemium services for the first time. Previously, webtoon services operated by South Korea's web service companies Naver and Daum have provided digital comics content for free. Currently, almost every webtoon companies provide freemium services. In 2015, Lezhin started a digital comic book service for U.S. consumers.

Because webtoons can be consumed anywhere using smartphones, digital cartoon content has become a daily necessity, especially for young South Korean consumers. Scores of new webtoon episodes hit the market every day.

Popular digital comics are recreated into various content including games, TV dramas and films. "Along with the Gods," a webtoon series by Joo Ho-min, that depicted the world of the afterlife based in Korean folklores, was recreated into two blockbuster films in 2017 and 2018, garnering more than 12 million viewers each. Kingdom, a Netflix Original Drama series that earned explosive popularity, was also based on a webtoon.
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