This week, VIZ Media made the jump to a digital, subscription-based model for their flagship magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump. To coincide with the launch, Comics Bulletin was able to talk with Weekly Shonen Jump’s Editor in Chief, Andy Nakatani about the change of direction, why this is the right move, and why readers should be excited.
Dan Gehen for Comics Bulletin (CB): Is this new subscription model replacing purchases for Shonen Jump?
Andy Nakatani for VIZ Media: Yes, the digital magazine will no longer exist, and we will be releasing the three most recent chapters of Jump series like My Hero and One Piece for free. Instead of paid subscriptions to the magazine, we will be offering memberships for a monthly fee of $1.99, which will give you access to the Shonen Jump vault of back chapters. This includes pretty much everything from the Shonen Jump imprint that we have released in English.
CB: Why is now the right time for this move?
We’re so excited about this new platform offering free content and a back catalog of chapters that we wanted to launch as soon as was reasonably practical for us to do so. But we know that this is just the first step. We’ll continue to make improvements to Shonen Jump!
CB: Similar subscription services like this (e.g. Marvel Unlimited) delay the accessibility of new releases. What drove the decision to include new releases?
Nakatani: This is essentially the opposite of those services. The newest Shonen Jump releases aren’t included in the membership because the latest three chapters are free for everyone! We just want more people to read more manga, and we’re hoping that our new platform will exponentially increase the number of manga fans!
CB: As a consumer, the price points (free and $1.99/month) really stand out. How important was maintaining a low price point for WSJ?
Nakatani: We felt that offering free content for the most recent chapters and a very low price to access the digital vault of back chapters was essential to encourage readers to come to our official platform.
CB: What kind of reading experience can consumers expect? Any changes/upgrades to what is currently available?
Nakatani: Yes, there are upgrades! The web reader will be an html5 reader and we’ve made some improvements to enhance the reading experience. Improving the reader is definitely an ongoing process and enhancements will be made as we go along. The reader on our apps will also have a major enhancement which we’re excited about – users are able to choose whether they want to stream or download a chapter. We feel like these are just initial steps towards improving our platform and will continue to make improvements in various areas as we go along.
For more information, check out Weekly Shonen Jump at www.VIZ.com/shonenjump