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Popular webtoon-based TV series drive more readers to original works

By Lee Si-jin

Published : Sept. 2, 2023 - 16:00

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Poster images of Kakao Entertainment's webtoon IPs and drama series (Kakao Entertainment) Poster images of Kakao Entertainment's webtoon IPs and drama series (Kakao Entertainment)

Kakao Entertainment webtoons are enjoying a renewed bump in popularity from TV drama adaptations by broadcasters and video streaming platforms that have become major hits this year.

Disney+’s superhero action series “Moving” became the most watched Korean original project on Disney+ and Hulu, topping Disney+'s TV series charts in several countries, including Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian countries.

Proving its growing popularity, the original webtoon “Moving,” which came to an end in 2015, became the most viewed webtoon on the Kakao platform as of Tuesday.

After Disney+ premiered “Moving” on Aug. 9, the daily average sales of the webtoon series saw an increase of 12 times and eight times on Kakao Page and Kakao Webtoon, respectively. Viewership rose 22 times and nine times on Kakao Page and Kakao Webtoon as well.

Action webtoon “The Uncanny Counter 3,” which has been coming out with new episodes every Thursday since March 30, topped the Kakao Webtoon chart in the second and third week of August.

The bump is thanks to tvN’s “The Uncanny Counter 2,” which will release its final two episodes on Saturday and Sunday. The original webtoon series, which ended in 2020, saw steep increases in both daily average sales and viewership.

Meanwhile, the drama adaptations of webtoons “Not Others" and "The Killing Vote” also helped boost the original work.

Genie TV's "Not Others," which was also available on cable channel ENA and streamer Tving, had a successful run with its last episode released on Aug. 22.

The 12-part family comedy show became the most watched Monday-Tuesday drama after topping the viewership ratings among all TV shows in the same time slot since the first week of August.

Though the webtoon "Not Others" came to an end in February 2022, the original webtoon series saw a 27-fold increase and an 11-fold increase in both viewership and average sales, respectively, on Kakao Page.

Terrestrial broadcaster SBS’ new Thursday drama “The Killing Vote” is also off to a strong start, topping ratings among all TV shows in the same time slot with the first three episodes, as of Wednesday.

"The Killing Vote" has caught many viewers' and readers' interest with its unique plot. The story shows the protagonist bringing down criminals who evade punishment from the law with the death penalty, a punishment that is decided through a survey on a smartphone application.

Viewership and sales have seen a steep rise since the drama's premiere on Aug. 10, but Kakao Entertainment expects the number to increase further as the drama will run through Nov. 9.

“With the rising popularity of Kakao Entertainment’s IP-based drama series, the original webtoons are getting renewed attention, creating a virtuous cycle. The company will continue to provide quality stories and find ways to maximize the IP synergy with more exciting projects,” a Kakao Entertainment official said.