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Domestic Video Content Originating from Literature










We are living in an era of stories. In the 21st century, humans, who have evolved through tales, start their lives in stories, experience mood changes like a roller coaster, and consume numerous stories based on how they feel and what they like. Global OTT dominates our pastime these days. Netflix, the world’s largest OTT platform, has 220 million paid subscribers. One noticeable fact is that more than 60% of paid subscribers of Netflix in 2022 watched at least one Korean content, which proves the prowess of Korean products. Netflix released this year’s lineup, and there are a whopping 28 pieces from Korea, starting with its original series, “The Glory.” Netflix seems to be invested in Korean content after gaining 1 trillion won worth of profits with the “Squid Game.”


“더 글로리” 파트2 메인 포스터

The main poster of “The Glory” Part 2



Many Korean and other OTTs will advance and invest this year. Therefore, the competition will only grow fiercer. Now, we are living in the era of story wars in Korea. At the same time, the importance of original IP is rising. As the OTT platform competition gets heated, the race to secure content becomes more intense. For that matter, securing the IP of the 1st copyrighted work that saw success is one of the basic strategies. Areas highlighted as original IPs were web comics and web novels. “All of Us Are Dead,” “D.P,” “Hellbound,” “Sweet Home,” “Incomplete Life,” “Along with the Gods,” and “Work Later, Drink Now” are based on web comics, and “Reborn Rich,” “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?,” “Business Proposal,” and “Semantic Error” are based on web novels.
Content verified by web comics readers, a market worth 1.566 trillion won in 2021, and web novels, a market worth 1 trillion won, are highlighted as original content with high versatility. The fact that readers select stories of web comics and web novels without gatekeeping on the content makes them accessible and helps the industry grow. Furthermore, ease of access is a common factor between web comics and web novels as they are accessible online and on mobile. According to an Investigative and Analytic Study on Story IP’s Success Cases released by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) in 2021, web comics took the highest share among original IPs that succeeded after being turned into 2nd copyrighted works with 18%, and publications, including web novels, followed with 17%. When including comic books’ 5% share, the share of web comics, comic books, and publications (web novels, novel books) amounts to 40%.


With OTT platform competition getting fiercer, the importance of original IP is rising.


As a publisher releasing literary works, I would like to talk about trends and significant changes in the IP field, focusing on Korean video content originating from Korean literary pieces. The Nabiclub, which I am a member of, releases the only Korean detective literary magazine Quarterly Mystery and joins two content IP business events every year, which are Content IP Biz Meeting held by KOCCA, and Busan Story Market, the world’s first story market hosted by the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). During the event, many pitch their novels to video producers and IP buyers, and have business meetings to conclude copyright contracts. The Nabiclub also has joined previously mentioned events to promote its novels. Even now, the Nabiclub introduces stories, studies transmedia storytelling, and negotiates contracts as a follow-up of the event.
Through the events, the Nabiclub entered into web comics, drama, and movie copyright contracts on writer Min Ji-Hyeong’s novel My Crazy Feminist Girlfriend (Nabiclub). It also succeeded in concluding copyright agreements on releasing dramas of Strange Mystery (Nabiclub) and 2035 SF Mystery (Nabiclub). Drama and movie producers I met through the events commonly said the following during the meeting with the Nabiclub, a publisher of literature: “Now, we seek original IPs from novels.” Why are producers searching for novel IPs instead of web comics and web novels as original IPs? Let’s see why.


『나의 미친 페미니스트 여자친구』

『괴이한 미스터리』

『2035 SF 미스터리』

My Crazy Feminist Girlfriend, Strange Mystery, and 2035 SF Mystery



Tiredness from Repetitive Cliches of Exciting Genre


Web comics and web novels, popular genres of this era, target their primary readers: teens and the 20s. Those works are often filled with exciting content, such as classic narratives and hooks that keep readers engaged, but the threshold for such exciting elements gets higher over time. Video producers are now exploring stories with meaningful themes and ideas, which have been found in traditional forms of novels. For example, AppleTV’s successful drama “Pachinko” originates from a saga written by writer Lee Min-Jin, who developed and prepared it for 30 years. The story gained worldwide popularity and succeeded while showing the lives of Koreans living in Japan called Zainichi. The book thrived after becoming a drama for its rich themes, characters, and easy-to-read narratives. Increasing sales and popularity of the original piece after the drama was aired showed the power of well-made dramas.
Other examples of novels turning into popular videos include writer Chung Se-Rang’s School Nurse Ahn Eunyoung (Minumsa Publishing), which was produced as a Netflix drama, a JTBC drama serviced on Netflix originating from the novel Dealing with Love (Minumsa Publishing) written by Lee Hyuk-Jin, writer Chung So-Hyun’s Reflection of You (Moonji Publishing Co., Ltd.), writer Moon Yoo-Suk’s Ms. Hammurabi (Munhakdongne Publishing Group), an SBS drama written by Edou named I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day (Sigongsa Co., Ltd.), the original novel of Coupang Play’s drama “Anna,” which is written by writer Jung Hanah titled Intimate Stranger (Munhakdongne Publishing Group). Interestingly, the books mentioned before were not best sellers in the market until they were made into TV or streaming shows. However, the books saw a rapid increase in sales after being released as shows and watched by viewers. It is a rediscovery of novels through videos. In other words, the lasting impression people get after watching the drama was why viewers sought the original pieces. It is because narratives in novels do have various charms. An increasing number of IP buyers find deep and diverse stories of books not found in web comics and web novel IPs in novels.


『보건 교사 안은영』

『사랑의 이해』

『너를 닮은 사람』

School Nurse Ahn Eunyoung, Dealing with Love, and Reflection of You


『미스 함무라비』

『날씨가 좋으면 찾아가겠어요』

『친밀한 이방인』

Ms. Hammurabi, I’ll Find You on a Beautiful Day, and Intimate Stranger



The Principle of Supply and Demand


Nowadays, short-form web dramas are shown on YouTube and online channels. Likewise, forms and distribution methods of dramas and movies are diversifying, and new types of video producers are in line with the change. Finding an original IP is the best way to reduce the time spent developing a story. However, if the producers do not have a relatively substantial capital, copyright prices of web comics and web novels already verified through their views are burdensome. Additionally, novel IPs are less challenging since signing copyright contracts with web comics or web novels is available only if the concluding party is a well-known video producer. There are many variables in turning literary pieces into videos, and being a best-selling novel does not guarantee the movie or drama’s success. In other words, even if particular literary works are not famous, they can be created as videos as long as they have exciting settings, characters, and themes. Some publishers only release genre novels to run video transmedia copyright business, targeting such demands.
In addition, one interesting fact is that the volume of web novels and web comics should be shorter for PDs who review countless original IPs. For example, there are more than 200,000 writers who each write around 5,000 characters per episode and at least 50 episodes per piece in the web novel market, which is worth more than 1 trillion Won. Moreover, in the fight against physical time, novel book reviews are done in 2~3 hours, making them a cost-effective option. For that matter, the demand for novel IPs is growing.


Novel IPs are seeing increased demand due to cost-effective copyright prices
and physical time spent on reviewing.


The War on Securing Writers


According to the Media Issue & Trend Report (“미디어 이슈 & 트렌드 보고서”) released by Korea Communications Agency (KCA) in 2022, the global OTT market is expected to grow from $50.1 billion in 2020 to $184.3 billion in 2027. The Asia-Pacific market is forecasted to rise the most ($11.74 billion in 2020 → $45.94 billion in 2027). As of 2020, Korea’s OTT market alone exceeds 780 billion won. Korea also has the 4th biggest movie market, following the US, China, and Japan, with 1.6 billion won in 2019.
As the video market grows and continues its expansion, the most precious resources are writers. In turn, writers proven in the market get more jobs and see their pay rise. As a result, there are wars waged on finding skillful scriptwriters. Often, writers are asked to write scripts together while making contracts on original novels. Naturally, some writers cross the boundaries of literature and videos, writing books and screenplays. As a result, there will be more and more writers working on both videos and novels, like writer Min Ji-Hyeong, who wrote My Crazy Feminist Girlfriend, Cheon Seon-Ran of 2035 SF Mystery, Chung Se-Rang of School Nurse Ahn Eunyoung, and Sohn Won-Pyung of Almond (Changbi Publishers, Inc.).






Recently, Korean novels have been re-discovered as a source of infinite expansion potential, not the final destination of literature. As web comics and web novels saturate the video market with their content, novels are now highlighted as original IPs for having unique ideas and uncommon storylines.



Written by Lee Young-Eun (Head of the Nabiclub)



Lee Young-Eun (Head of the Nabi Club)

#Literature#OTT Platform#Novel IP#Video Content
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