By now you all must be familiar with Crunchyroll, but just in case you are not, Crunchyroll are the official internet streamers of Bleach, Naruto and many, many other animes. Apparently, they are doing quite well in their niche market too. This is of course good news for their investors, which includes TV Tokyo - Japan's leading anime broadcaster and of course the broadcasters of Bleach.
Having made a profitable foothold in the anime broadcasting market. It seems Crunchyroll is trying to move into hosting manga as well. To that end, they have gone into bed with an e-publisher.
You are no doubt all aware that a consortium of publishers have forced the doors of OneManga, Mangahelper and Mangatoshokan to remove Bleach and other manga. Mangafox is still going, as are others and of course many scanlation groups do have their own website for distribution. However, there is a cost associated with scanlation groups and I am not talking about the cost of the owners of the intellectual properties. Ju-Ni has been looking for cleans it seems forever but they are hardly getting any interests let along actual new cleaners. Mangastream website is partly funded through donations to off-set the server costs etc, etc. For these reasons, as well as the mounting pressure from publishers, should there be a legitimate source of manga on-line, many scanlation groups will close their doors. Considering the reaction that was triggered following Crunchyroll, I can only imagine what the reaction will be if Mangastream, Ju-Ni and others decide to close their doors.
Well we don't know how long it will take Crunchyroll to get their manga platform up and running. There is also Open Manga. Once again, Open Manga is NOT publisher driven. It is a third party platform that's trying to get a foothold with publishers. Given that Crunchyroll seems to have become the darling of content providers in Japan, I don't know how successful Open Manga will be. However, competition is always good.