The first US web portal for webtoons “Tapastic”, developed by startup Tapas Media, has launched its ‘Primetime Publisher Program’ for publishers of content. The Tapastic platform was launched in October last year and the company has since received investments from several investors including the Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups and Korea’s SK Planet.
Unlike Korean webtoon portal systems which pay a fixed amount to content producers every month, Tapstic’s Primetime Publisher Program (PPP) is a system designed to help benefit artists. The more traffic a publisher produces for each piece of content, the higher the amount they receive. A similar system called “Kakao Page” will be released by Kakao this coming March, and will act as a platform with an emphasis on users producing content. Tapas Media plans to use this type of system to attract talented artists and create a webtoon ecosystem.
Nevertheless, Tapas Media’s PPP system and Kakao Page are not completely the same and the webtoon portal currently offers content free of charge. Taking into consideration the needs of both users and publishers, Tapas Media has taken the best parts of Kakao Page and current portal systems, to develop a new type of platform. CEO Kim commented on the system, saying, “Long term, we are creating a paid webtoon system and we settled on PPP so that we could open high quality content to readers.”
Most of the 100 artists on Tapastic are from the US, but one of Tapas Media’s medium-long term goals is to also introduce top content from Korea’s developed webtoon market to new overseas markets. There have been several attempts at bringing Korean webtoons to foreign users, but the absence of a suitable business model meant that many publishers weren’t interested. Tapas Media expects that through its PPP business model which offers compensation for quality of content, it will be able to help Korean webtoons gain traction overseas.
Currently the North American comic market is worth 4 trillion won and Korea — as the pioneers of webtoon platforms, it seems like perfect timing to enter the market. Tapas Media CCO YJ Jang said, “In the long term, the current active OSUM (one source multi-use) market for webtoons which is seen in Korea, can also be applied to much bigger markets overseas.”
Tapastic has gained the attention of many since its launch last year and is currently offering free translation for Korean content with high potential for success overseas. Last December the company signed an MOU with Korean story-telling company Pungryuilga, and began publishing an English version of the popular comic “Shaman” which was featured on portal site Daum. Tapas Media has also entered contracts with SK Planet and T Store with plans to introduce more popular Korean webtoons to the US market in the first half of 2013.
More information about the Primetime Publisher Promgram and Tapastic can be found on the Tapastic Website.