Viz Media to Launch Near-Simultaneous Japan/U.S. Digital Manga Weekly to replace Shonen Jump.
Viz Media plans to launch Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, a weekly digital serialized manga anthology. The new weekly digital anthology will debut in January 2012 and eventually replace Shonen Jump, the popular U.S. monthly print manga anthology Viz launched in 2002, which will be phased out in March 2012.
Most importantly, the new digital Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha will publish the most recent chapters of Viz's most popular manga series two weeks after the same material has appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump, the long running Japanese flagship print anthology that the new digital weekly (and its U.S. print predecessor Shonen Jump) is modeled after.
Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha was unveiled at a press conference at New York Comic Con. The new digital anthology will be offered through an annual subscription of $25.99 for 48 weekly digital issues over 52 weeks. Single issues of the new digital anthology can be rented for 99 cents for four weeks from the time the material is purchased. And once a consumer has downloaded the content (purchased or rental) it can be read on their original device and on all the consumer's enabled devices though the integrated Viz manga app and Vizmanga.com website.
Near-simultaneous Japanese/English publication is an unprecedented move and the launch of Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, along with Viz's earlier debut of a manga app for the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and the launch of its online site, Vizmanga.com, puts Viz Media in the forefront of offering licensed manga in all digital formats at reasonable prices. Indeed Viz (along with other U.S. publishers like Yen Press, DMP, NetComics and the industry site, JManga.com) hopes to use its digital initiatives to counter the overall declines in the sales of manga in the U.S.
Viz's new digital publishing initiatives are also aimed at fighting digital piracy and scanlation sites—web sites hosting thousands of volumes of illegally scanned and translated manga volumes. Decline in U.S. print sales of manga are increasingly being blamed on scanlation sites, which are often supported by advertising and attract millions of visitors each month to read the latest Japanese manga online for free. Indeed, Viz's digital initiatives are challenging the longtime criticism that Japanese publishers are dragging their feet on digital delivery, allowing digital pirates to satisfy the demand for digitized manga.
Alvin Lu, Viz Media senior v-p and general manager, said "Simultaneously publishing an official translation of the most popular comics magazine in the world has been a dream since manga publishing began in North America in the 1980s."In addition, Shonen Jump, the monthly print anthology that both marked and fed the growth of U.S. manga popularity since it was first published in 2002, will be phased out. The last issue of the print magazine will be released in March 2012. "This is how manga is meant to be read in English – weekly, current, authorized and on the go," Lu said. "Now with Weekly Shonen Jump Apha, it's about to happen for real."
Viz Media, LLC, headquartered in San Francisco, is an anime, manga, and Japanese entertainment company. It was founded in 1986 as Viz LLC. In 2005, Viz LLC and ShoPro Entertainment merged to form the current Viz Media LLC, which is jointly owned by Japanese publishers Shogakukan and Shueisha, and Shogakukan's licensing division Shogakukan Productions (ShoPro Japan)
Source: Viz Media to Launch Near-Simultaneous Japan/U.S. Digital Manga Weekly
Written or Contributed by: Jeremy Shane