Tapas under Kakao confident of turning into web comic powerhouse in U.S.: CEO Kim

2021.05.12 13:56:15 | 2021.05.12 13:56:45

Tapas CEO Kim Chang-won이미지 확대

Tapas CEO Kim Chang-won

California-based web comic publisher Tapas Media Inc. is ready to expand further now that it has become a formal member of Kakao family and can leverage on Kakao Entertainment Corp.’s intellectual property riches of over 80,000.

Tapas Media will strive to be IP powerhouse by actively incorporating Kakao’s success strategies in Asia, said Kim Chang-won, the web comic publisher’s founder and CEO, during his interview with Maeil Business Newspaper on Tuesday.

Kakao’s board on Tuesday approved Kakao Entertainment’s acquisition of the U.S. webtoon platform operator.

Tapas CEO Kim will continue to lead the company as well as serve as Kakao Entertainment’s global strategy officer.

Founded in 2012, Tapas Media is one of North America’s major web cartoon platforms with 3.5 million monthly active users, over 60,000 local web cartoonists, and 100,000 some original works.

[Photo by Kakao Entertainment Corp.]이미지 확대

[Photo by Kakao Entertainment Corp.]

The demand for web cartoons is growing in the U.S., especially among the young generation, said Kim. There had been little opportunities for web cartoon creators when Tapas Media first launched but the market has evolved to a major content industry in the U.S. with Tapas allowing local artists and authors to have easier access to content publishing, he said.

Tapas Media has recently adopted Kakao’s web cartoon business models, which has helped the company experience rapid growth. Tapas Media introduced Kakao’s business model of allowing web comic service users to view stories free of charge sometime after the first release. Also, Kakao Entertainment’s best-seller comics have helped pulling in more users after the Kakao unit started to provide its original IPs to Tapas following its major stake buyout in the U.S. company in November last year. Currently, Tapas Media generates nearly half of its revenue from Kakao Entertainment-owned web comics.

[Source: Tapas Media]이미지 확대

[Source: Tapas Media]

Tapas Media plans to add at least 300 more new original works by next year to solidify market leadership, said Kim.

So far, only Marvel, DC and such book based comics have been made into movies in the U.S., but the market for mobile-based contents like web novels and comics is expanding fast, noted Kim.

Naver also has made inroads into U.S. web comic market but Kim believes the companies should now focus on attracting traditional contents market’s consumers and creators to web-based market rather than going into competition.

By Shin Hyun-kyu, Oh Dae-seok and Cho Jeehyun

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]