Webtoon Entertainment, the parent company of, among other businesses, the Webtoon creator platform and Wattpad, has filed a prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as the first step in the process of becoming a publicly traded company. According to the filing, Webtoon plans to list its stock on the Nasdaq market under the WBTN symbol.

The number of shares to be issued, and at what price, are still to be determined, but the prospectus provides details on the size of the Webtoon operation, and the numbers are impressive. In 2023, total company revenue was $1.28 billion, up 18.8% over 2022, and its net loss rose to $144.7 million, from $132.5 million. Webtoon generates the bulk of its sales through its paid content business, where sales increased nearly 21% last year, to $1.03 billion. The company’s newer operations, advertising and IP adaptations, had sales of $145.4 million and $108.3 million, respectively, in 2023. IP adaptions saw the fastest revenue growth rate among Webtoon’s three businesses, with sales up 31.4% last year. The number of monthly active users on the Webtoon site continues to grow, and stood at 170 million in first quarter of 2024.

Webtoon’s paid content platform features webcomics and webnovels from both amateur creators, which make up the vast majority of the 24 million creators on the platform, and professionals, who use the service to build their businesses. According to the filing, in 2023, the average earnings per professional creator were at $48,000, with the top 100 creators earning an average of $1 million. Between 2017 and 2023, Webtoon paid out more than $2.8 billion to its creators. And as of December 31, 2023, creators had generated more than 54 million webnovel stories on the platform. Excluding Wattpad titles, Webtoon hosts about 750,000 combined webcomic and webnovel titles.

Under the paid content model, stories are serialized in a manner roughly replicating chapters in a book. While the majority of the content on Webtoon is free, episodes that are behind a paywall are only accessible through the purchase of a “Fast Pass” subscription, which typically costs 15 to 70 cents per episode, while a “Daily Pass” costs 30 to 40 cents per episode.

While paid content accounted for 80% of Webtoon’s total revenue last year, the prospectus highlighted the growth of its fast-growing IP adaptation business. Webcomics published on Webtoon have been adapted into a number of other media formats, including film, streaming series, games, merchandise, and print books. Over the past decade, the prospectus revealed, more than 900 titles have been adapted into other formats, including over 100 streaming series and films, more than 200 books, and over 70 games. In 2022, Webtoon launched Webtoon Unscrolled, a U.S.-based imprint designed to bring many of the site’s most popular English-language series into print for the North American market. Among the publishers Webtoon has worked with are Amazon Publishing, HarperCollins, Macmillan/Tor Books, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.

Webtoon was founded in Korea in 2004 by Junkoo Kim and launched in the U.S. in 2014. The platform has users in more than 150 countries, with more than half of its users coming from outside its core markets of Japan, Korea, and North America. (Japan and North America each have about 20 million users.) Its largest proportion of users are Millennials and Gen Zers, characterized by the company as 34 years old and younger.