KAKAO ENTERTAINMENT MERGES US-BASED DIGITAL STORYTELLING PLATFORMS TAPAS AND RADISH TO ACCELERATE GROWTH IN NORTH AMERICA

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 8:00 AM EDT

SEOUL, South Korea, May 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Kakao Entertainment, Korea's leading provider of popular mobile content platforms, today announced the merger of its North America subsidiaries Tapas Media and Radish Media, creating a digital publishing platform with more than 100,000 creators telling more than 100,000 stories. The merger of these leading digital publishers creates a synergistic community of storytellers in the North American market while expanding Kakao Entertainment's global IP value chain.

Kakao Entertainment Merges Tapas and Radish (Credit: Kakao Entertainment Corp.)
Kakao Entertainment Merges Tapas and Radish (Credit: Kakao Entertainment Corp.)(PRNewswire)

The merger agreement was unanimously approved by Tapas Media and Radish Media's Board of Directors, with Radish Media as the surviving company.

The merger will boost Kakao Entertainment's global growth, providing an umbrella for three existing digital storytelling platforms: Tapas, Radish, and Asian fantasy fiction platform Wuxiaworld™. Tapas Founder and CEO, Chang Kim, will serve as CEO of the new, not-yet-named company and continue as Global Strategy Officer at Kakao Entertainment. Kim provides insight into the US market while continuing to focus on developing original IP. The three platforms will complement each other under a unified leadership and vision but continue to operate independently after the merger.

"I'm very excited by the challenge presented by the super competitive global entertainment market, and I know this merger positions us well with the momentum we need to solidify all our capabilities and maintain our competitive edge as a content IP powerhouse," Kim says. "We look forward to continuing our innovative journey in storytelling and reaching new audiences with compelling stories across multiple categories."

"The agreement will provide a major leap forward for Kakao Entertainment in the burgeoning K-content industry and offer exciting new opportunities in the North American storytelling market," says Jinsoo Lee, CEO of Kakao Entertainment. "Tapas, Radish, and Wuxiaworld™ each bring a huge lineup of content IPs to the table, and when we put them under one banner with Kakao Entertainment's proven ability to generate and monetize original stories, it will pave the way for unparalleled growth and generate more success stories."

Lee continues, "Kakao Entertainment is a key player in the growth of storytelling globally. With our content IP expertise and the outstanding content creation capabilities of the new company, we will accelerate our efforts to become a dominant regional and global player in the market in the next three years."

Kakao Entertainment specializes in maximizing the lifecycle of digital stories. It first created the novel-to-comics model, which took web novels and successfully adapted them into webtoons to reach larger audiences. Past hits include "Solo Leveling," "A Business Proposal," and "What's Wrong with Secretary Kim?" With this merger, the new company will not only continue to leverage the novel-to-comics model but also expand into other fields such as Hollywood films, television shows, gaming, the metaverse, and NFTs. For example, Radish plans to introduce audiobooks of its successful original stories, targeting North America's fast-growing audio content market.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Tapas is a pioneer of mobile storytelling platforms in the US and has found success in the rapidly growing mobile stories market with more than 9.5 billion pageviews of 103,000 original series – both webcomics and web novels. Tapas' microtransaction-based digital currency (Ink) empowers readers to directly support their favorite creators and stories, generating revenue for creators.  Tapas saw ten times year-over-year revenue growth in 2021, averaging more than $2 million per month for creators, making it one of the top three grossing comic apps in the US.

About Kakao Entertainment

Kakao Entertainment Corp. is a global entertainment company affiliated with the leading Korean tech company Kakao Corp. Kakao Entertainment combines the full spectrum of the entertainment industry value chain, across its Story, Media, and Music businesses. Kakao Entertainment's Story business operates "kakaopage" and "Kakao Webtoon," two leading mobile content platforms that provide users with an offering of over 80,000 story IPs, both domestically and abroad. Together, these platforms retain Korea's most extensive library of original content. Kakao Entertainment's industry-leading Music business is spearheaded by "Melon," Korea's No.1 music streaming platform. This is in addition to the company's robust music production capacity, which releases 1,200+ new tracks every year. Its Media business boasts diversified video production capability for mobile, TV, and film with 80 top Korean creators and 150 globally beloved Korean celebrities under management. Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Kakao Entertainment's global footprint spans Korea, Japan, North America, Greater China, Southeast Asia, and India and is expanding rapidly.

About Tapas Media

Established in 2012, headquartered in Los Angeles with key global operations in Seoul, South Korea,  Tapas Media is one of the fastest-growing digital publishing platforms of webcomics and novels in North America. Tapas has created a community of more than 10M registered users with stories from 69,000 creators and published over 103,000 stories to date. Tapas has multiple partnerships across various multimedia platforms including Scholastic, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Yen Press, Zoic Studios, Vault Comics, BOOM!, Ten Speed Press (Penguin Random House), Kakao Entertainment, Podium Audio, Frolic Media, Madison Wells, Netmarble, and more. Tapas Media is the 2020 Ringo Award winner for Favorite Publisher and received its first Eisner nominations in 2021. In 2021, Tapas Media joined forces with Kakao Entertainment to expand its global storytelling footprint.  For more information, please visit Tapas.

About Radish Media

Radish is a mobile fiction platform for serialized storytelling, offering the literary equivalent of addictive TV drama series. Its wide variety of stories are published and read in bite-sized installments, optimized for the smartphone reader. Radish is revolutionizing the way that stories are consumed and produced. Readers can access thousands of serials across genres and connect directly with their favorite storytellers in live community chat rooms. Amateur authors can publish their own original stories via user-submitted content, and Radish itself also produces Radish Originals, serials in a variety of genres designed specifically for its mobile platform and written by a talented team of Emmy Award-winning soap writers, authors and Radish's Content Team creators. Built to be both user and author-friendly, Radish strives to present the newest and brightest in entertaining, diverse serial fiction to readers while providing authors with innovative ways to build readerships and monetize their work.  For more information, visit www.radishfiction.com

Chang Kim, Tapas Media founder/CEO to lead the new company (Credit: Tapas Media)
Chang Kim, Tapas Media founder/CEO to lead the new company (Credit: Tapas Media)(PRNewswire)

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SOURCE Kakao Entertainment Corp.

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