Former Apple mobile executive Andy Miller has jumped ship and landed on a Facebook page that’s dedicated to all things Manga, Anime and Japanese Pop Culture, to steer it towards web and app success.
Miller, who’s currently firmly ensconced in the boardroom of Leap Mobile, has joined Tokyo Otaku Mode (TOM) in order to help the start-up turn its 6.7 million Facebook likers into website and app lovers using the skills he honed during his time with Apple.
After founding mobile ad network Quattro Wireless, Miller became VP of mobile advertising for iAD following Quattro’s take over by Apple. He’s now on board at TOM as an advisor. But why does he want to help this Facebook phenomenon?
“I am happy to support the development of TOM’s community of manga and anime fans from around the world,” he said. “The passion of the anime and manga community, and the thirst for content and a place to share has led to the explosive growth of TOM. I am excited to help this community connect across web, smart phones and their tablet devices.”
Keeping it in the Family
Also, according to TOM’s own Nao Kodaka, Miller’s son is an Otaku (the name given to anime and manga fans) and it’s the fans that have made the anime and manga movements what they are – a global and cultural phenomena. There are plenty of sites and online spaces that cater to these niche interests; however Kodaka believes that none are embracing social media and using it to talk to fans and share media-rich content.
This is completely at odds with the TOM strategy, which has always placed the emphasis on social media. In fact, the website, which is currently in the Alpha testing phase, can only be accessed by invite if you are lucky enough for it to know you exist. The popularity of the company’s Facebook space has put it up there as one of the most rapidly expanding entertainment pages, with over 99% of its fans based outside Japan. In stark contrast, the Anime News Network has just 58,000 likes.
What’s So Special about TOM?
So what’s the secret? What has made Tokyo Otaku Mode so successful? With each piece of content achieving an average of 10,000 likes, TOM’s Klout score is bound to be the envy of everyone, but the formula is simple. Posting carefully collated images and content dedicated to cosplay, anime and manga, fans know they will see quality content. And that’s it.
Investors believe in TOM though, as back in July the company received angel funding from Silicon Valley and a handful of Japanese Angels. Those involved in the funding included accelerator 500 Start Ups, Maneesh Arora and Richard Chen, and experts suggest that the fact that a Facebook-based start up that targets hardcore fans of niche culture was able to access such funding means that the TOM’s strategy may make sense.