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WEBTOON to end Creator Rewards Program in February 2023

The decision pushes webcomics creators on the platform towards ad revenue and tips as the primary ways to make money
Webtoon
Webtoon

In a surprise move Thursday, WEBTOON has announced that, as of February next year, it will be ending its Creator Rewards Program and shifting to an audience-led tipping program in terms of allowing creators to monetize their work moving forward.

As an email sent to creators by the company explained, “As the end of 2022 approaches, we wanted to let our creators know that we are officially ending the Creator Rewards Program. The program will terminate once January Rewards are paid out in February of 2023. We appreciate every creator who has been part of the Creator Rewards Program, and we will continue our support through the Ad Revenue Sharing Program. We are also developing a tipping system to provide an additional form of support, and we greatly appreciate your patience until we can share a more accurate release date of the system later this year.”

The Creator Rewards Program was introduced in December 2020, originally announced as a one-year program. In December 2021, the company reported that it was extending the program “into 2022,” with a line in the same announcement stating that the program “will end in 2022 when WEBTOON launches a new revenue system."

Entrance into the Creator Rewards Program required that creators be approved for WEBTOON’s Ad Revenue Sharing Program and update their series at least once a month; reward levels were dependent on page views, with 40,000 monthly views being the lowest level required to earn a payout. That would earn a $100 payout, with the next level requiring 200,000 monthly views, then 600,000 monthly views, and finally 1,500,000 page views; that last level — the “Platinum Tier,” in WEBTOON’s terminology — would earn the creator $1000.

Moving to monetization purely through ads and tipping brings WEBTOON in line with Tapas Media, its primary competitor in the webcomic space. Tapas monetizes its creative community through similar ad revenue and support programs, with the latter relying on fans tipping via its proprietary Tapas Ink system.

On social media, news of the end of the program has been described as “incredibly frustrating and disappointing”, with one creator noting, “This platform grows more inhospitable every day.” “This is a huge, significant blow to the Canvas community,” wrote webcomics creator Shanny. “We knew this would eventually happen, but implementing a tipping system instead is a bad idea.”

Popverse reached out to WEBTOON for comment, and received the following statement in response: "The Canvas Creator Rewards Program was created as a temporary program to help Canvas creators earn additional income from their work while we built our US ad business. Today, thousands of Canvas creators earn money every month from advertising, and in 2023 we’ll introduce a new tipping system for Canvas creators, which will allow fans to directly reward their favourite creators."

"Our goal is to create multiple, sustainable models for every type of creator to earn money on WEBTOON. We think the combination of a tipping system and ad-rev sharing will create a more sustainable and scalable model to support more Canvas creators. As a result, we’ll sunset the Canvas Creator Rewards Program at the end of this year, with final payments going out in February, 2023."

According to a statement released by WEBTOON earlier this year, the company has paid out more than $27 million to creators since the Canvas Creator Rewards Program was put in place.


At New York Comic Con, WEBTOON and DC discussed their future plans together.

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About the Author

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Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. His work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, Wired, Polygon, Inverse, Time Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times, and he also co-hosts the Wait What podcast three times a month and writes the Comics, FYI newsletter. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.

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