image via Wattpad WEBTOON studios https://company.wattpad.com/blog/wattpad-and-webtoon-merge-studio-divisions-to-create-wattpad-webtoon-studios-a-fully-funded-fan-driven-global-entertainment-powerhouse
Following successes like The Kissing Booth or After franchise, ViacomCBS is partnering with Wattpad WEBTOON studios to adapt original online content for the screen.
Webtoon is a virtual publishing website where users can write and publish their written work. Many authors get their start on the site and gain popularity from online readers, eventually landing them a publishing deal. This was the case for the authors of The Kissing Booth and After. There are millions of stories published on the site along with sister site, Webtoon, that published comics and illustrated stories rather than just text. Wattpad and Webtoon became Wattpad Webtoon studios when Wattpad was purchased by Naver, Webtoon’s parent company, for over $600 million USD in June 2021.
With the studio, ViacomCBS plans to develop original content for several of its networks and properties, one of which being Paramount+. This partnership and plan show that ViacomCBS is working on rolling out more content specifically catered to a millennial and Gen Z audience.
“Wattpad WEBTOON Studios is home to some of the most exciting new voices in comics and literature,” “Between our massive global IP catalogue with built-in fandoms, and a roster of superstar comic artists and indie authors, we’re fueling a new era of data-backed entertainment. We’re thrilled to work with ViacomCBS International Studios, a company that shares our vision to transform entertainment by elevating the creativity and fandoms of a new generation of storytellers. Working together with ViacomCBS International Studios, we’ll bring more diverse, original voices to screens all over the world.”Aron Levitz, President of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios
As media professionals, this partnership is meaningful because it shows a liaison between big, traditional media and new media. Like “youtube creator” or “tiktok creator” becoming new and relevant jobs in the field, a digital author is one as well. Anyone can get their start on Wattpad or Webtoon if they make an account. Now, hopping on your laptop and writing fanfiction for fun might land you a steaming series deal with media giant ViacomCBS.
Keck, Katie. “ViacomCBS announces partnership with Wattpad to adapt originals” 8, December 2021. The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2021/12/8/22825153/wattpad-webtoon-originals-paramount-plus-viacomcbs