As the year begins, people are moving into new jobs and positions.
• Anime NYC founder Peter Tatara has stepped away from running the show and taken a position as Director of Film at NYC’s Japan Society. He posted the news on Facebook. MK Goodwin, formerly show runner of ECCC and other ReedPOP events, will take over as showrunner, althought Tatara will continue in a consulting position.
Of all the moves, he wrote:
A century-old arts and culture organization in NYC, Japan Society exists to grow the bonds between Japan and New York, and it does this through year-round arts, education, and entertainment. Taking on leadership of the Film Program of Japan Society, I will shepherd the year-round operation of the Society’s film offerings, including JAPAN CUTS – the largest Japanese film festival in North America – as it returns in-person for the first time since COVID, seasonal and curatorial film series, special screenings, and much more. Japan Society is a globally-renowned cross-cultural destination, and I am nothing short of humbled to join its team of experts, academics, and curators.
So… what does this mean for Anime NYC? I founded the show, it’s my baby, and it has been my supreme honor to have created it for anime fans and the anime industry. But it has also grown so big and so fast it needs more support. Today, the Anime NYC team is expanding. As I join Japan Society, Ms. MK Goodwin will talk over as Event Director and manage Anime NYC. MK is a friend and colleague I’ve worked with for over 10 years, and I’m her biggest fan – and as she takes on this new role, I’ll be supporting her in any way I can. My goal is to help teach everyone working on Anime NYC to create a team of experts, so where I provided support previously there will be a broader team to serve you, the anime industry and anime fans.
Japan Society is a well respected institution, and Tatara brings a lot of knowledge to that institution as well.
• It appears that Tapas founder and CEO Chang Kim has stepped down from the position. He announced the move in a now deleted Linked In post, but his page now lists him as being on sabbatical.
Kim founded Tapas in 2012, when it was known as Comic Panda, before becoming Tapastic, and finally Tapas. Serial webcomics platforms were a bit of a tough sell for a while to American readers for a while. But as phones got bigger and faster, the webtoon format has exploded, as it has in Korea, with Tapas claiming a top spot among portals, along with WEBTOON.
In May 2021, Tapas was acquired by South Korean company media company Kakao Entertainment for $510 million. Kakao also acquired UGC fiction website Radish, and in May 2022 merged the two into a single company, along with another acquisition, Wuxiaworld. A wave of hirings and a move into more original content in 2021 was followed by layoffs and a new direction last July.
In 2021, according to PR, Tapas averaged more than $2 million per month for creators, “making it one of the top three grossing comic apps in the US.”
Kim has worked for Samsung and Google, and is credited with having helped develop the Blogger platform. If he has indeed moved on from Tapas, don’t be surprised if he comes back with something new.
Meanwhile both WEBTOON and Tapas continue to lead the explosion of interest in mobile comics in the US, with more companies, like Tappytoon, joining in the fray. The undeniable popularity comes even as questions about how creators are paid and treated continue to swirl. How the planned global expansion of webtoon portals fare during the current economic slowdown will be a big story in the coming year.