With over 60 years of experience as an animation producer, Ellipse Animation is looking to deploy its know-how on the production of webtoons.
At a time when this new form of narrative, which originated in South Korea and is designed for screens, is seeing worldwide growth, while being mostly produced in Asia, Ellipse Animation is determined to be part of the creation of a French webtoon sector. Ellipse has taken a decisive step by making and creating webtoons in Ellipse Studio Angoulême, its studio based in the south-west of France, from 2024 onwards.
“Gen Z’s keen interest in webtoons is a planetary phenomenon”, said Ellipse Animation’s managing director Caroline Audebert. “The market is anticipating strong demand by 2030 and Ellipse Animation, within the virtuous ecosystem of the Média-Participations group, wants to invest in this promising field”.
Key positioning developed by the Média-Participations group
The Média-Participations group, a European leader in publishing, media and entertainment, has already positioned itself on webtoons in several ways. Dupuis have been creating webtoons with European and African authors since 2019, under the Webtoon Factory label. Editions Dargaud are currently developing new creation initiatives in collaboration with author and publisher Maëva Poupard (Rutile), who is behind the success Colossale.
In March 2023, Média-Participations launched its webtoon platform ONO, managed by Ainara Ipas, with a selection of 300 series. ONO’s catalog consists of webtoons developed by Dupuis and Dargaud combined with the best of Asian series through a partnership with Kenaz, the largest independent Korean Studio. The ONO app has been downloaded more than 350,000 times since its launch.
The group is now moving into a new phase with the creation of a webtoons production company within Ellipse Studio Angoulême, created to welcome talents, and especially the authors of tomorrow.
A twofold production strategy
For Ellipse Animation, webtoons production in Angoulême is organized around two focal points. On the one hand, the studio offers manufacturing services as an executive producer serving the group’s publishers, ONO and other players in the sector: external publishers, producers, broadcasters, institutions…
“This involves setting up an industrial organization, where the division of is similar to that of animation, making it possible to adapt to the weekly publication required on applications”, said Arnaud Réguillet, head of Ellipse Studio Angoulême.
The studio is about to work on Rutile and Yllogique’s series Vertu de Saint-Cyr (visual ©Dargaud), developed by Dargaud within a collection of four original French series for the ONO platform (“ONO Originals”) alongside Queen Cendrillon (Pralinus and Helsenn), Zanni (Pralinus and Léa Rey-Mauzaize) and Magica Britannica (B. Rylia and Rann).
On the other hand, in the medium term, Ellipse Animation is looking to become an initiator by creating original webtoons, supported by creative talents from the very broad Angoulême ecosystem and by adapting animated films and series from its catalog to this format.
The creation of a French webtoon sector in Angoulême will enable the development of new skills in France and sustainable jobs in the region, while supporting the natural hybridization of all the professions in the picture industry.
“This new activity will allow us both to retain talents and to attract new ones”, said Caroline Audebert. “Webtoons are also major strategic assets for creating tomorrow’s transmedia IPs. The idea is to develop original titles with a global reach and adapt them in several formats, including animation, thanks to the different entities in the group.”
“The organization and professionalization of the sector also involves the training of artists, technicians and producers. It is the next step on which we are currently working hand in hand with the teams from ONO”, she added.
At the Angoulême Comic Book Festival (from January 25th to 28th, 2024), Maëva Poupard, Ainara Ipas and Arnaud Reguillet will contribute to a round table entitled “Rethinking the French webtoon, from production to adaptation”.