South Korea’s Webtoon in Partnership With Thales’ ‘InFlyt Experience’

In News by Porter Anderson

Naver’s Seoul-based Webtoon sees its new partnership with Thales’ in-flight business as a way to introduce its work to more in the US market.

A Webtoon graphic created for the announcement of the South Korean company’s partnership with Thales’ in-flight content business. Image: Webtoon

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

A Partnership Is for In-Flight Content in the United States
The Seoul-based Webtoon Entertainment group of platforms is entering a partnership with the Orlando-based American company Thales InFlyt Experience to integrate Webtoon’s catalog of online comics during flights that carry the Thales product.

It’s expected by both companies, Publishing Perspectives understands, that this partnership will help introduce Webtoon’s offerings to flying consumers in the United States market.

What we’re talking about here—despite the misspelling that names this brand—is in-flight entertainment, considered by some to be among the most reliable contexts in which to reach consumers. Like the logic behind the now-infrequently-encountered in-flight magazine, in-flight entertainment has a relatively captive audience during the duration of a flight and in a market with as much air travel as the United States, this can deliver a lot of eyeballs to sponsors, advertisers, and airlines.

The Thales deal is expected to offer passengers access to Webtoon’s full catalogue to flyers.

Thales introduced the “InFlyt Experience” branding in Germany, in 2015, announcing the product at the Aircraft Interiors International show in Hamburg. At the time, it was described as a “reshaping” of the product for the “IFE” market, meaning the in-flight entertainment market.

With airlines now offering increased wi-fi connectivity—in the States, with heavy emphasis on raising the quality and lowering the cost of this amenity—in-flight entertainment systems are being tuned up to capture more eyeballs on flights, knowing that many may simply use the available wi-fi to access their own favorites on their own devices. The Webtoon offering could provide comics fans with a new onboard option.

Lee: ‘To Grow Our Network of Partnerships’

The Webtoon content will be accessed from the Thales program on flyers’ own smartphone devices. That takes advantage of what the Korean online-comics powerhouse Webtoon has developed as an especially high-quality vertical scroll for its content.

David S. Lee

In a prepared statement David S. Lee, who is the head of the United States’ Webtoon division, says, “Digital comics are the perfect content for travelers to consume in-flight—highly mobile and scrollable, with a genre and series for every type of reader.

“Through this new partnership with Thales, we couldn’t be more excited to bring Webtoon’s library of content to travelers across the United States, and to introduce even more readers to Webtoon’s thriving community of international creators.

“We are continuously looking to grow our network of partnerships and services to enhance the travel experience.”

Kurt Weidemeyer

Speaking for Thales, Kurt Weidemeyer, vice-president of digital product delivery, says, “This partnership is an exciting new addition to our entertainment offerings that diversifies the passenger experience.

“We look forward to giving travelers the opportunity to dive headfirst into the exciting world of Web comics through this partnership.”

As our readers know, Webtoon was founded in Korea in 2005. Naver, the parent company of Webtoon, in 2021 acquired Canada’s Wattpad for US$600 million.

More from Publishing Perspectives on comics is here, more on Webtoon is here, and more on the South Korean market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.