Manta, a global webcomic subscription service launched by South Korean digital content firm RIDI, is fast gaining a foothold in the North American market, the company said Tuesday.
Three months after its November launch, Manta had become the most popular app in the free cartoon chart of Google’s app store in the US. After six months, it achieved the milestone of 1 million downloads, the firm said. It is now available in 175 countries.
The early success of Manta comes amid the growing global popularity of Korean digital comics, driven by platform giants Naver and Kakao.
Yet Manta’s unique strategies appear to have played a part. Manta is the first subscription and curation-based service in the webcomics industry.
Company officials likened the app to the “Netflix of webcomics” in that it is a monthly subscription model that offers great convenience and cost-effectiveness.
According to RIDI’s internal data, subscribing led to four times the amount of reads compared to an a la carte model, a factor to which Manta attributes its current reputation as a highly “bingeable” app.
Another factor behind its popularity, according to company officials, is the swift localization of content that is popular in Korea. “Under the Oak Tree,” a title of immense popularity on RIDI’s local platform, is paving the way with 7 million hits globally in just under five months since launching. The app also recently released some of its most popular series as free-to-read, with plans to diversify its content, offering even more by bringing in more genres and original content.
“RIDI has been securing a high volume of quality IP (intellectual property) within the e-book and web novel market for the past 10 years,” says RIDI CEO Bae Ki-sik. “As the global webcomic industry expands, Manta’s competitive edge will be in its content and business model.”
The primary focus is on building its pool of loyal subscribers by raising brand awareness through sourcing a variety of exclusive content that will appeal to a global readership, the executive added.