ViacomCBS has signed separate partnership deals with South Korea’s CJ ENM and Wattpad Webtoon Studios as it gears up to launch its direct-to-consumer streaming service, Paramount+, across Europe and Asia.
The pact with CJ ENM involves the co-production of films and TV shows on a global basis, as well as content licensing and distribution across the companies’ respective streaming services. The two companies will also launch Paramount+ in South Korea in 2022 as an exclusive bundle with CJ ENM’s streaming service TVing, marking its first launch in Asia.
“Korean entertainment has become a cultural juggernaut with unprecedented demand, and CJ ENM is behind some of the biggest international hits that transcend borders, including Academy Award-winning film Parasite,” said Dan Cohen, president, Global Distribution Group, ViacomCBS.
CJ ENM CEO Kang Ho-Sung added that the deal is part of Korean studio’s strategy to become a global player. “CJ ENM’s vast library of original IP will create synergy with ViacomCBS’ production capabilities and distribution channels to develop into global smash-hit content,” Kang said.
It was recently announced that CJ ENM is paying nearly $1bn to acquire an 80% stake in Endeavor Content, the production entity that US talent agency Endeavor was forced to divest following a lengthy battle with the Writers Guild of America.
Details of the wide-ranging collaboration between CJ ENM and ViacomCBS include:
- Paramount Television Studios and CJ ENM/Studio Dragon will co-develop and co-produce English-language scripted series based on CJ ENM/Studio Dragon’s titles for distribution on Paramount+.
- ViacomCBS and CJ ENM will co-develop and co-finance movies for theatrical and streaming releases with the plan to distribute one theatrical movie per year in various territories.
- ViacomCBS and TVing will co-finance new Korean series for global distribution on Paramount+.
- Paramount+ will license Korean-language series from CJ ENM’s library.
- Pluto TV, ViacomCBS’ free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service, will launch a dedicated CJ ENM-branded channel on December 14 featuring K-content for US audiences.
Separately, ViacomCBS also announced that it’s working with Wattpad Webtoon Studios to identify stories from Wattpad and Webtoon’s global IP libraries of digital comics and stories, which span Latin America, Europe and other international markets. The series would be distributed on ViacomCBS’ networks and platforms, including Paramount+.
ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS) has so far announced more than 30 Paramount+ originals ahead of a roll-out of Paramount+ in Europe and Asia in 2022. “ViacomCBS International Studios is committed to telling authentic, local stories from emerging creatives from all corners of the world, and through this mission, we’ve expanded to become one of the leading creators of content globally,” said Ari Tan, vice president, head of strategy, ViacomCBS International Studios.
“Now through our partnership with Wattpad Webtoon Studios, we’ll have the opportunity to use this exciting, data-driven approach to inform our storytelling and amplify new creative talents through our global platforms.”
Wattpad Webtoon Studios was formed by the merger of Webtoon Studios and Wattpad Studios in June 2021. The company recently wrapped production on a film adaptation of Float, based on Kate Marchant’s hit Wattpad romance of the same name, which is co-produced with Lionsgate, Collective Pictures and Brightlight Pictures.