Thursday, June 8, 2023

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The Tapas Media Webtoon Gossip From Last Night – Bleeding Cool News

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Yesterday, Bleeding Cool scooped the news that the major webtoon publisher Tapas Media, has informed its employees of a number of imminent layoffs in editorial at the publisher including Michele Wells, former Executive Editor and co-EIC of DC Comics. Last night saw a number of employees and ex-employees, usually working together remotely, meet up for in-person drinks. Here’s some of what I’ve been hearing. I am sure there is more to come.
WHat's Going On With Tapas?
Last year, Korean online giant Kakao Entertainment signed agreements to acquire Tapas Media, valued at $510 million. to expand its original content business in English-speaking regions.
The gossip is that Tapas CEO Chang Kim, now being elevated to a higher position at Kakoa, seemed to believe that the deal would give him as much autonomy as he continued running the company as before. But dealing with Kakoa’s demands put foul to that, even as he held meetings in which he would insist he was in charge. He would prefer algorithmic number-crunching solutions to creating new content, where Michele Wells had a track record of bringing in something new and unpredictable from the outside, with successful creators in other media. This established a major difference in approach between the two.
Gossip also concernedstock options being issued to staff last year at what were seen as reasonable prices, only for Chang Kim and new CCO Won Choi to come back stating that Kakao said it was too cheap, raising the stock option price to what Kakoa had paid for Tapas, over 150% more than the original quoted price. There were also questions regarding the nature of the buyout, as Tapas didn’t seem to have a bigger budget to pursue desired creative pursuits. Some staffers last year report feeling that their own salaries were being portrayed as causing harm to the company, while being denied funds to do the job that would justify said salaries. With Won Choi now in charge, the financial management of the company will be the only voice. Tapas will probably be fine as an IP filter for Korean publishers into the US and English-speaking market, but its days as an original content provider may be numbered.
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