Jan 18 / Sozoroo TEAM

Japanese Manga Industry Alliance for New Service Development

In the dynamic landscape of Japanese manga, a groundbreaking collaboration unfolded on December 11, 2023, bringing together key players such as NTT Docomo, Akatsuki, Media Do, and MyAnimeList. The primary objective of this strategic partnership is the development of an avant-garde digital manga distribution service tailored specifically for the United States. This visionary initiative is poised to launch its services in the fall of 2024, with a keen focus on catering to the diverse preferences of readers by encompassing both traditional horizontal layouts and the increasingly popular vertical reading format on smartphones.

Collaborating Companies and their Specialized Roles
The synergy of the participating companies is distinctly evident in their tailored roles within this collaboration. NTT Docomo assumes the mantle of the main operator and platform provider, orchestrating the foundational aspects of the service. Complementing this, the Akatsuki Group, drawing from its wealth of experience in the realm of vertical reading manga apps, is entrusted with the responsibilities of operations and development, particularly through its successful HykeComic platform. The intricate process of content acquisition is vested in the capable hands of Media Do, a stalwart in e-book transactions both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, the wealth of data and marketing expertise offered by MyAnimeList, with its substantial user base of global anime and manga enthusiasts, is anticipated to play a pivotal role in driving the strategic trajectory of business development.

Unique Features and Flexibility of the New Service
Beyond the collaborative prowess, the forthcoming service is characterized by its adaptability and user-centric approach. It is poised to be accessible through a seamless user experience on both smartphone applications and PC browsers. This dual-platform strategy ensures that readers, irrespective of their preferred devices, can seamlessly access the extensive manga library. The service's unique selling proposition lies in its capacity to cater not only to the conventional horizontal reading format but also to the increasingly popular vertical reading format on smartphones. This flexibility positions the service as a versatile and inclusive platform, catering to a broad spectrum of readers with varying preferences.

Navigating Challenges and Envisioning Global Expansion
The venture into international markets, particularly the United States, is not without its challenges. The existing infrastructure for the official overseas distribution of manga, compared to anime, is still in its nascent stages. Notable successes such as Shueisha's "MANGA Plus" and KADOKAWA's "BOOK WALKER" serve as benchmarks, yet they are largely reliant on individual publishing houses. The envisaged success of the new service hinges on its ability to amass a diverse array of works, transcending the boundaries of major, medium-sized, and small publishers. This collaborative effort becomes the linchpin, determining the extent to which the service can secure a comprehensive collection of manga, including vertical reading options. The prospect of fostering collaboration across the spectrum of publishers is pivotal in unlocking the full potential of this ambitious venture and establishing a significant footprint in the global manga market.

In the spirit of innovation and collaboration, the Japanese manga industry is poised to make a profound impact on the global stage. The alliance forged between NTT Docomo, Akatsuki, Media Do, and MyAnimeList signifies a commitment to adaptability, user-centricity, and a collective vision for the future of manga distribution. As the service gears up for its anticipated launch in the fall of 2024, the collaborative spirit and strategic roles played by each company lay the groundwork for a service that not only transcends borders but also enriches the global manga landscape. This ambitious venture represents not just a distribution platform but a testament to the industry's resilience and commitment to meeting the diverse demands of manga enthusiasts worldwide.