Last week, the Jump Plus editorial team announced that they were launching the ‘Jump Digital Lab,’ a new endeavor intended to help expand Shonen Jump’s digital horizons. As part of this, the Jump Plus team launched on Tuesday another new venture, this time titled ‘Manga Tech 2020.’ While the two projects definitely have some overlap, there are also some key differences – both of them offering different ways in which Shueisha can continue to develop its online presence.
Much like the Jump Digital Lab, Manga Tech 2020 – full name ‘Shueisha Startup Accelerator Program: Manga Tech 2020’ – aims to encourage people to submit their business ideas for Shueisha’s approval. Anyone is welcome to apply, from individual entrepreneurs to start-up companies, with the winner able to win up to 1 million yen (around $9300 USD). The deadline for submissions is September 30, with screenings taking place across October and November.
Yet, there is a key difference between the Jump Digital Lab and Manga Tech 2020. As the Jump Plus team explain in their first ‘note’ on the App Competition website, the “focus” of the latter project is much wider, concerning not just Shonen Jump but the entire manga industry. Ideas don’t even have to be about digital services, as the team points out that “agriculture” is listed in the web of potential themes on the website.
Manga Tech 2020 has also set for itself three lofty goals: “revolutionize” the manga industry, “accelerate” it and “update” it through the use of technology. Launching a website away from the App Competition is definitely the right first step, and the Jump Plus team seem excited to see what kind of ideas their fans have in store.
With so much of the manga industry moving online these days, it’s hardly a surprise that the Jump Plus team and, by extension, Shueisha are placing so much emphasis on digital services. Yet, the broad scope of Manga Tech 2020 suggests that they are also looking for ways to change their business as a whole. Here’s hoping that it succeeds.