Piccoma has emerged as the manga app to beat in Japan. The feat is incredible considering that it has just been a few years since the app was introduced. Owned by the South Korean internet company Kakao, the company started off with a single studio in Japan before it branched out to two more studio locations, one each in Seoul and Tokyo. The app had turned out to be the highest selling manga app by value in Japan in 2021 for the second successive year. Its transaction volume doubled to about 70 billion yen ($586 million) in a year.
However, Piccoma is different in that it features the typical South Korean webtoons. Unlike other Japanese manga apps that allowed for scrolling from side to side, a webtoon allows for vertical scrolling which makes it more convenient for comprehending on a smartphone. Also, as Nikkei Asia reported, most webtoons are in full color and have just a few words on a page. Nonetheless, the user is able to read a full chapter in just a few minutes itself.
Another way the Piccoma is different is that the planning, art, and finally the story are all dealt with by experts in the respective fields. This enables the company to launch one or two new serializations in a day, which makes it more effective and efficient. This is quite different from typical Japanese manga where the artists work in close collaboration with the editor to arrive at the final thing.
Another factor that makes Piccoma extremely popular is that while Japanese manga is available in full book-sized volumes, Piccoma offers a single episode containing about 10 – 20 pages. Also, it makes available a free episode once every 23 hours while the user has to subscribe to continue with the remaining episodes. This allows for greater profitability and has even gone on to become the standard in the Japanese webcomics industry.
Piccoma also offers series sourced from all publishers. Interestingly, its prime rival in the business, Line Manga too follows a similar strategy, and both have gone for more than 30 million app downloads. Recently, Line Digital Frontier announced the acquisition of eBOOK Initiative Japan as it aims to take on Piccoma. Meanwhile, the Shonen Jump Plus of Shueisha or the Magapoke app that belongs to Kodansha only carries those titles that its parent publishers came up with. Yet another differentiating factor with the Piccoma is that its content is quite similar to streaming videos.
Piccoma is also expanding to other parts of the world where the manga is in demand. It already has a French subsidiary running in France while the company is exploring options to set up a base in other parts of Europe as well. The company also said they are looking to produce web comics in the market they are operating in instead of just pushing translated stuff.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. The motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot, and I'll likely make a film sometime in the future.