January 19, 2019

After comics, Kakao Japan eyes video streaming

PUBLISHED : April 17, 2018 - 18:15

UPDATED : April 17, 2018 - 18:19

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[THE INVESTOR] The Japanese subsidiary of Korea’s largest messenger operator Kakao appears to be gaining momentum with a unique “wait-for-free” business model in the US$4 billion Japanese comics market.

Marking the two-year anniversary of the launch of its comics platform Piccoma, Kakao Japan said on April 17 that it recorded 824 million yen (US$7.70 million) revenue in the first quarter of this year, reflecting a 446 percent jump from a year earlier. It also amassed 2.9 million active monthly users as of end-March. 

Kakao Japan CEO Kim Jae-yong talks during a press conference on April 17 in Japan.

Kakao Japan

Sales are now expected to rise by more than 3 billion yen this year.

The Piccoma app has adopted the so-called “wait-for-free” business model, in which a comic is divided into small chapters and offered for free by chapter every 24 hours for customers.

Piccoma began with just a few dozen comics series, but now it offers 2,000 comics from 70 publishers. The success gave Kakao Japan the confidence to plan the launch of its video-streaming app Piccoma TV this summer to compete with leading video platforms such as Netflex and Just like its comics platform, Piccoma TV will also offer a certain amount of free content every day.

By Park Ga-young (

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