For the first time, South Korean webcomics platform/publisher WEBTOON has revealed exactly how much it’s paying creators: more than $1 million a month, collectively.
The company—which says it has more than 82 million monthly active users—said it has paid out $27+ million to English-language creators since the start of 2020, which works out to a little over $1 million each month. It didn’t say how many creators that $1+ million is split between.
These earnings come from ad revenue splitting (creators get 50% of revenue from ads run on their comics, according to WEBTOON), on-platform purchases (like an onsite currency called Coins to access webcomic updates sooner than other readers), creator rewards (which pays them “$100-$1,000 based on the performance of their series”), and WEBTOON Originals contracts, where a creator may make their webcomic exclusive to WEBTOON and then go on to sign deals for things like Netflix adaptations.
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(Our header image is from the 2020 Netflix adaptation of Sweet Home, a WEBTOON webcomic written by Kim Carnby and illustrated by Hwang Young-chan.)
WEBTOON says it also plans to introduce a tip jar feature sometime this year that’ll “[expand] the ways for fans to reward creators directly on WEBTOON.”
It’s worth noting the above earnings are for English-language comics only. WEBTOON says its top-earning South Korean creator singlehandedly made $9 million in 2021, adding that these earnings “demonstrate the size for massive market growth in English-language markets.”
WEBTOON launched in South Korea in 2004. It didn’t start courting English-language comics until 2014.
“WEBTOON creators are some of the most talented, creative, and captivating in the history of comics,” Ken Kim, CEO of WEBTOON Americas, said in a statement. “In a time when comics have never been more popular, we’re incredibly proud of the growing Creator Economy and ecosystem we’ve built to celebrate and support WEBTOON creators.”