By Sam Nussey
TOKYO (Reuters) – Two South Korean technology companies are borrowing from adaptable gaming to agitate up – and boss – Japan’s acclaimed manga industry, a artifice aberration that has broadcast the comics’ fanbase to a new bearing of readers.
Backed by tech giants Kakao Corp and Naver Corp, Piccoma and Line Manga accept become Japan’s highest-grossing adaptable apps alfresco games. Such online manga platforms accept apparent a billow in acceptance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Piccoma’s third-quarter transaction volumes added than tripled year on year to 11.6 billion yen ($110 million), extending a beachcomber of online manga sales that has already apparent agenda beat book in Japan’s $5 billion manga industry.
Line Manga, now operated by SoftBank’s internet business Z Holdings, saw transaction volumes jump by a third to 8.2 billion yen in the aforementioned period. Naver beneath an account request.
Piccoma anesthetized Line Manga to become aftermost year’s top-grossing manga app on both Apple’s IoS and Android. Its acceleration can be traced aback to 2016, aback it alien a acquirement archetypal it calls “zero yen if you wait.”
The app’s manga tales – from classroom adulation belief to abnormal abhorrence – are serialized. Users charge delay for a timer to alleviate the abutting instalment, or pay to apprehend ahead.
Inspired by smartphone amateur in which arena is chargeless but added agreeable is not, the access apparent a abolitionist abandonment from the archetypal archetypal of affairs an absolute manga aggregate up advanced at prices of $4-$6.
“We anticipation if we could grab 5% or 10% of the bigger amateur bazaar it would drive growth,” said Yukiko Sugiyama, chief administrator in Kakao Japan’s business action department.
Readers, acquisitive to acquisition out what happens next, about end up paying. The business archetypal has become accepted as dozens of book sellers, tech companies and publishers rushed to action their own apps.
Megumi, a 34-year-old appointment artisan in western Japan, said she reads 20 pages or so of manga on her buzz during her cafeteria break, and angry to the two apps aback ashore at home demography affliction of kids during aftermost year’s communicable accompaniment of emergency.
She became “addicted” to and paid for a hit Line Manga series, “True Beauty”, about a adolescent woman whose architecture abilities accomplish her accepted with men.
The band originated in Korea, area the acceleration of the internet saw cardboard sales collapse, replaced by smartphone-optimised comics.
Manga apps action a all-inclusive aback archive of titles and absolute strips.
“You can apprehend manga accustomed aloof your smartphone – it’s handy,” said Kana Misaki, a 36-year-old affliction artisan active abreast Tokyo who reads manga “overwhelmingly” via apps.
In Japan, online manga is about still formatted like a book, and acceptable publishers are a able force, with editors carefully complex in anniversary date of production.
Printed in atramentous and white on bargain paper, cardboard manga charcoal affordable and disposable. The industry is adequate beneath Japanese law from books actuality awash for beneath than their awning price, alike online.
“For new titles, cardboard sales are abundant higher,” said Shu Hashimoto, an editor at administrator Kodansha’s long-running Weekly Shonen Magazine.
Even the best agog app users say they will buy cardboard editions of their favourite titles.
“You don’t apperceive aback titles will abandon from the apps, so aback I appetite them abutting at duke I buy them,” Misaki said.
($1 = 103.6900 yen)
(Reporting by Sam Nussey and Yuki Nitta; Editing by Gerry Doyle)
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