Manga giant Tokyopop announced this morning that it is spinning off its comics-to-film and digital units into a new company, Tokyopop Media LLC; publishing operations will remain in Tokyopop Inc.  


Publishing production will be reduced by roughly 50% through the rest of the year, reducing output to roughly 200-225 titles per year from a planned total of over 500 titles.  Tokyopop CEO and Chief Creative Officer of the Tokyopop Group, Stuart Levy, explained the reasons for the reduction in output.  “The time is now for us to focus our publishing business to overcome current market challenges.  Few releases will allow for less cannibalization at retail.” 


The company is reducing its workforce by 39 positions in connection with the changes.  "We must adjust our overhead to properly execute this new business plan," Levy said.  "We are doing it with a heavy heart," he continued.  "It involves saying goodbye to 39 of the most talented, creative and compassionate people I've ever known."


Executive changes accompany the restructuring.  Group President and COO John Parker will take over as Publisher at Tokyopop, Inc. Marco Pavia, previously Director of Marketing, has been promoted to Associate Publisher.  


Mike Kiley, who has been serving as Publisher at Tokyopop Inc., will take over as the key senior executive in Tokyopop Media, reporting to Levy.  Kiley noted the opportunities for the new company.  “Over the past three years, we have produced more than 25,000 pages of original comics/manga material, making us the North American leader in production outside of Marvel and DC. With the relationships we have established in the past year, Tokyopop Media is ready to move quickly into the comics-to-film and digital markets.”  Tokyopop has been producing online videos for Myspace and Youtube, and has aggressively pursued mobile delivery of its comics as well.  


Tokyopop's Japan operation will also split into two units, one under Tokyopop Media and the other the Tokyopop Group's holding entity.  European operations will be unaffected.