ViacomCBS announces partnership with Wattpad and Webtoon to adapt several original series

image via Wattpad WEBTOON studios

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.


HBO Max is coming to Europe!

Image Via Apple Insider

Warner Media confirmed on Wednesday that HBO Max will launch in Europe on October 26. The first six launch markets are going to be Andorra, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. 14 more European countries will receive the streaming service in 2022, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. More details on pricing and content offering will be announced in a virtual launch event in October.

The streaming service will include content from Warmer Bros. HBO, DC, Max Originals, and Cartoon Networks. HBO Max’s European arm is focusing on television shows and plans to broaden the scope of its content beyond programming typically offered in the U.S. Christina Sulebakk, general manager for HBO Max EMEA, explains that the brand is trying to create an unique identity in the highly competitive market, where Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are increasingly dominant rivals.

“Our brand with HBO Max is much broader than our legacy HBO brand. It’s much more energetic and diverse in terms of content and scope. There’s a lot of love in the brand, and energy and inclusion and playfulness.”

Christina Sulebakk, general manager for HBO Max EMEA

While HBO Max announced plans to continue launching in European countries outside of the 20 countries listed above, streaming fans in Germany and the U.K. have to wait a little longer. Because of existing deals with other companies in these countries, HBO Max wouldn’t be lucrative at this time. Sulebakk stated: “We are evaluating market by market in terms of commercial strength in programming, [and whether] it’s the right portfolio that we can bring to market — not only the HBO slate but WarnerMedia in general.”

For me, as a European, that is very interesting because so far HBO Max hasn’t played a role in streaming in Europe. I am curious how this will change streaming habits and if HBO Max will be able to compete with Netflix and Amazon as they are already well established. I think in the first months it is most important for HBO Max to have a unique and outstanding advertisement strategy to draw attention to their streaming service.