The editor of Shueisha, Yuuta Momiyama, who manages the online services Shonen Jump Plus and Manga Plus of Weekly Shonen Jump, wrote an entry on his blog to explain why the Editorial Department of Shonen Jump Plus internally manages distribution in the Foreign through manga plus.
First, he explained that it is usual for publishers to sell the rights of publication abroad to foreign companies through the Department of Licensing abroad, and that this system continues to give positive results. However, Manga Plus management is in charge of Shueisha directly because Momiyama wants it to be a fundamental part of the Editorial Focus of the Weekly Shonen Jump.
According to Momiyama, the role of a manga magazine is "to offer the new and interesting manga world". To achieve this, the Weekly Shonen Jump makes extensive use of the surveys and comments from the readers. With the Manga Plus data, the Editorial Department can monitor the international reception from a very early phase of serialization. In addition, as the international market is so important for the anime industry, Manga Plus data is already used to help decide which titles adapt to anime.
Momiyama also predicted that the manga market abroad will be even more important in the future. Manga Plus currently has 5 million monthly active users. He also pointed out a Kodansha report in which approximately 20 percent of manga sales are currently coming from abroad. In Shueisha, he has heard that manga sales abroad apparently have duplicated in 2021 compared to the previous year. He highlighted the popularity of Kaijuu 8-Gou (Monster No. 8) in particular, whose first volume sold 250,000 copies only in France, despite the highest price per unit of manga volumes compared to Japan. Momiyama predicted that the proportion of sales in the country and abroad will be equal within ten years.
In an interview conducted in September, Momiyama repeated many of the points about foreign market growth. Although the Manga Plus service includes advertisements, he explained that the priority is to make the official version of a manga as accessible as possible, rather than monetizing the platform. He said that the advantage of manga plus as a simultaneous distribution service is that not only prevents piracy, but closes the temporary gap between the national and foreign reception.
On the other hand, Momiyama said in the interview that translation costs are currently very high. He affirmed that the quality of the automatic translation is still very low, but that "in ten years should improve", and added that "if we can produce high quality translations in many different languages, it will be a change in the game." He also highlighted as problems the lack of operational resources of the company for each region and local censorship, affirming that the company still lacks knowledge in those areas. Therefore, it is currently difficult to make the necessary changes and adjustments quickly.