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Sony to Become Number 1 in Providing

Date: 2005 August 22 12:22

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Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. has announced that it will triple the number of comics books it formats for viewing on cell phones making it the Number 1 provider of ‘Manga’ in Japan said a company official.

According to Sony spokeperson Hidekazu Tanaka, "Manga are a Japanese institution, but viewing comics on mobile phones is an entirely different experience altogether, He added that Sony signed a contract with 10 popular Manga artists including Shigeru Mizuki, creator of Gegege no Kitaro -- a 1970s classic featuring a young ghoul boy who fights monsters.
"We want to rein in middle-aged mobile phone users, as well as teenagers," he said.

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Sony will now offer over 300 Manga titles compared to less than half of the figure combined by top rivals NTT Solmare and Toppan Publishing.

Cell-phone comics use a technology called Comic Surfing, developed by Tokyo-based venture firm Celsys, which takes viewers through manga stories at a carefully calculated speed and sequence.

The manga frames are specially formatted to fit on tiny mobile phone screens. Pop-up frames and vibration during action scenes add to the drama. Cell-phone comics with pre-programmed sound effects are also coming soon, said Toppan Publishing spokesman Katsunori Onishi.

It is estimated that in Japan Manga maniacs spent 100 billion Yen on comics in 2004 thus entering the manga fan market would be lucrative for mobile content developers.

Viewers pay 315 yen to download five manga titles a month by an artist of their choice. Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to introduce some 300 titles over the next year, while NTT Solmare and Toppan also plan to boost their libraries.

Source: Mainichi Daily News
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