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Wattpad, a storytelling platform, conducts another layoff round

Date 31 Jan, 2024

Writen by Kate Park

Wattpad, a Toronto-based storytelling platform owned by Naver’s Webtoon Entertainment, conducted another round of layoffs earlier this month. 

Wattpad has cut less than 30 jobs, or roughly 15% of its workforce, a source familiar with the situation told TechCrunch. According to local media outlets, including The Korea Economic Daily, the cut impacted about 30 employees. A spokesperson for Wattpad did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication.

The move is part of the company’s restructuring plan aimed at reducing costs as its LA-based parent company seeks to improve its finances ahead of an initial public offering in the U.S. as early as 2025, the source said. Webtoon Entertainment has three storytelling subsidiaries: Wattpad in Toronto, Naver Webtoon in Seoul and Line Digital Frontier in Tokyo. 

This is the company’s second round of layoffs. Wattpad laid off 42 of its 267 workforce, or 15% of the staff, in March 2023

Last October, Wattpad launched a new freemium model, “Wattpad Originals,” allowing writers to hide certain chapters behind a paywall and readers to access free content and try before they buy. Most recently, the company began offering “premium Pcks,” which gives Premium and Premium+ subscribers monthly access to five free Wattpad Originals. 

In 2021, Naver acquired Wattpad, founded by Allen Lau in 2006, for $600 million to incorporate the storytelling platform into its publishing division. 

We’ll update this piece as we learn more. 

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