Japan’s TBS expands into Korea with Naver & Shine Partners webtoon firm

LR: Keita Iwamoto, Takashi Sasaki, Kim Junkoo

Japan’s Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) is looking to tap into the webtoon phenomena by launching a new production company with Korean internet giant Naver and local manga company Shine Partners.

Studio TooN, which will be based in Korea, will develop original webtoons with Japanese and Korean creators, with shows then adapted into TV dramas, anime and other content for TBS. It is the first company launch for the Japanese broadcaster outside of its home country.

The new division, which is being launched with the support of Naver Webtoon, is set to launch later this month and is being headed by Keita Iwamoto, president of webtoon firm Shine Partners.

TBS Television president Takashi Sasaki said the company would create “exciting new webtoon-based video content” for global audiences.

Kim Junkoo, CEO and founder of Naver Webtoon, added: “When webtoon works are visualised, there is a synergy effect as the number of readers increases. We are delighted to be partnering with TBS, Japan’s leading content production company. We look forward to working together to develop diverse webtoons even further.”

The deal is the second this month involving Naver Webtoon, whose webcomic platform LINE Digital Frontier partnered with South Korea’s CJ ENM last week to launch a Japan-based division of its Studio Dragon production operation.

Webtoons originated in South Korea and are typically published in full colour, with content presented in a vertical, ribbon-like format, to be read by scrolling down, one panel at a time.

Japanese manga are typically published in black and white, and read horizontally from right to left, with several panels per page.

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