Anime Corner was at this year’s New York Comic Con and had the opportunity to meet Ernest Woo, Product Manager at Tappytoon. If you haven’t heard of the company (or missed our interview with them late last year), Tappytoon is a Korean webtoon and web novel platform. The platform reached a staggering 7 million registered members last year (with several of them in the US) and has begun releasing its own titles along with incredible collaborations. with studios like Redice (producer of Solo Leveling and BTS webtoon 7Fates: Chakho).
Although Tappytoon did not have a booth at this year’s New York Comic Con, they are looking into the possibility of participating in events abroad in the future. Luckily for us, this meant we got the chance to walk around and chat with them to see different areas of the venue, including Comic Con’s absolutely stunning dedicated manhwa area.
Growth in 2023
One of the more intriguing details in our most recent interview with Tappytoon involved their newly formed Tappytoon Studios to create all-new titles. The genres featured are some of the most popular on the platform but the viewership is unique; Woo notes that some of the platform’s newly published Boy’s Love (“BL”) projects receive around 50% female viewership, notably attracting a higher than typical male ratio of 26 %. This slight shift in demographics (at least for the company’s own published works) has been accompanied by the introduction of titles that seem to cross genre lines in some ways. One of the studio’s newer works, Zero Day Attack, is a BL story about a talented hacker who falls into a trap and ends up struggling to maintain his own safety while balancing his desire for revenge. enemy. After reading a few episodes, even though the story has a lot of BL, the hacking/computer parts of the plot have a distinctly modern feel and don’t look too different from more action-focused titles.
A large portion of the company’s growth this year also came internationally. “I tend to feel that what’s popular in Korea is a good indicator of what’s popular elsewhere,” the executive said, noting that some aspects of how growth organically into international and especially Western markets surprised him. Tappytoon Studios operates with a combination of in-house writers and artists as well as some outside help. Woo notes that the artwork is often done in-house, which gives Tappytoon Research consistency and good control over their overall aesthetic and style.
The personal touch and development of an in-house studio is especially important as anime begins to adapt webtoons and grow into diverse markets that require more and more localization. I asked Woo how Tappytoon’s audience reacted and/or changed in response to the announcement and release of various anime adaptations of the webtoon. Solo Leveling is the main title in my mind, but Woo went into detail about many other titles, across many genres. As for the webtoon that Tappytoon distributed, Woo noted that there was a “small but noticeable spike” at the time of announcement and premiere. A lot of newer users on the platform may have initially read action-focused webtoons adapted into shounen anime. Usually, they become regular users as they explore and read more and more. On top of that, well-performing anime like Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion help people “realize that drama is just as unique as action” and really dive into the broader types of content on the platform, meaning everyone will watch the webtoon then. be exposed to a variety of content.
Regarding the diverse and changing needs of different markets, especially regarding censorship, Woo said “We don’t have many difficulties,” citing Tappytoon Studios as one way they are able to create content. content to attract a wide audience. of the market without the hassles around localization, translation or content deletion. Of course, some parts of the world have more restrictions; For example, some markets have different standards when it comes to how much skin a character has or how revealing different outfits are in key artwork. Woo describes this as “part of the business” and it’s pretty clear that Tappytoon is ready to accommodate any request out there, which is welcome news for those eager to see their favorite works at home.
As Woo and I walked around Comic Con, I personally benefited from hearing some of the history surrounding the industry’s presence at conventions not specifically organized for manhwa, manga, or anime. Just a few years ago in 2018, this location did not have a dedicated webcomic/webtoon section. Even some of the world’s biggest manhwa, anime, and manga companies don’t have booths—the biggest might have one booth back then and two or more now, not to mention inflatable anime figures. giants scattered across the ceilings of buildings. Javits Center For Woo, who was last at New York Comic Con during that time, it’s clear that the current and potential fan base has grown not only in numbers but also in their interests . He explains that people are “expanding their reading horizons,” truly opening up expanded possibilities. Woo said that appearances at conventions in the near future are “very possible,” with the specific possibility of Anime Expo in Los Angeles mentioned.
A development platform for Tappytoon
Finally, we asked about future plans for the platform from a product perspective. Last year, the most requested implemented features for the app were launching web novels and adding dark mode. The app has been continuously improved over time and now there is a lot of focus on building the content available on it. “The fan base is reading and watching everything,” Woo said, and growing the list of available titles is a top priority. When asked about subscription plans similar to those Shueisha recently rolled out for MANGA Plus, Woo said the idea is under consideration. The main consideration when launching such a feature is the number of titles available. To date, the app has added multiple types of Club Memberships, allowing users to choose a monthly or yearly frequency to easily top up points (used to purchase chapters) and earn many perks while become a member.
Additionally, amid what is becoming a fun tradition at Anime Corner, Woo let us know that there will be very exciting things coming that cannot yet be revealed. The only details we could get were that it was “something fun” and “something unexpected” to the service. Definitely keep an eye out for what that might be; I will definitely do that. The global webtoon market is valued at a total of 3.7 billion USD in 2021, with predictions to bring this market to 56.1 billion USD by 2021. 2030. There are many opportunities for the industry to grow and develop. It’s clear that it’s only just begun.
Explore Tappytoon’s Official Website.