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Meet Cover Corp CEO Motoaki “Yagoo” Tanigo, The Man Behind Hololive's Virtual YouTubers

by Dennis Banda,

I was honored to interview the beloved Cover Corp CEO Motoaki Tanigo also colloquially known as “Yagoo” by the Hololive Community. Cover Corp is the parent company that runs the all-female Virtual Youtuber idol group known as Hololive, and the all-male Virtual Youtuber, or ‘VTuber’ idol group known as Holostars.

ANN: Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Motoaki Tanigo from Cover Corporation. I am responsible for running a company that manages a Vtuber agency called Hololive Production.

ANN: What is a Virtual Youtuber and what does Hololive Production do?
Virtual Youtubers, also known as VTubers, refer to people who are active on YouTube's platform as a virtual being. Within that, Hololive production operates its business in various regions such as Japan, China and Indonesia. We have over 10 million fans on YouTube and likewise over 10 million supporters on bilibili in China as well.

ANN: When was Cover Corp. established? Also could you please tell us what led you to found the company?

Cover Corporation was founded in June of 2016. Initially the business was not focused on VTubers, instead it was aimed at developing new content that utilizes AR/VR technology. Later on, we started working on the said Virtual YouTuber business.

ANN: What was the reason for launching a “Virtual Idol” business like Hololive Production?

Hololive makes use of both AR and VR technologies in its activities, with the objective of creating revolutionary content. I had previously worked with Sanrio in developing some of their characters, and I felt that we could make use of the advancements in both VR and AR to develop virtual characters, just like Hatsune Miku who gained lots of popularity in recent years. Of course, the term “Virtual YouTuber” did not exist previously. We started making use of VR devices to create content on different platforms, including YouTube and Nico Nico Douga. The first talent whom we worked with was, of course, Tokino Sora-chan.

ANN: What kind of streams do the talents at Hololive Production usually perform? Also, what are the some of the popular streams?

There are various types of streams that VTubers do. The most typical stream would be a gaming stream. Other than that, singing streams or free-talk streams I believe are the most popular types of streams. Talents don't necessarily just stream by themselves, but they can also do co-op play or battle each other. These types of streams seem to attract a lot of popularity as well.

ANN: There has been an ever increasing attraction from overseas on places such as Reddit. How do you feel about the overseas reaction?

In terms of Hololive, from the very beginning we have been planning to expand to China and overseas. We have exhibited at events such as Anime Expo or on bilibili, and have felt that since fans really love the content we create from Japan, that it would be best if we allow fans from all over the world to enjoy Hololive as well. Therefore, we have been aggressively pursuing overseas expansion and we are very happy that our fanbase is growing globally.

Kiryu Coco's Meme Reviews, which are mostly taken from Reddit is an example of the international appeal of Hololive.

ANN: What are some of the challenges that you face when running the business? Also what kind of measures do you take to overcome them?

Virtual Youtubers are still considered a concept that is not yet very widely known in society today. Therefore, I felt that it is a business that may be very difficult to understand for some investors. On the other hand, since we are experiencing rapid growth this year, we have gained a lot of good feedback from investors and fans alike. However, the reality is that we are still in the process of stabilizing the internal structure of our company. Therefore, for this year, we are working to maintain our management structure properly to have a healthy business model moving forward.

ANN: Could you tell us more about the plans or the vision you have for overseas expansion?

We initiated our first audition for Hololive VTubers aimed at the English audiences in April this year. In the upcoming days, there will be a massive official announcement so please stay tuned for that! In order for our overseas fans to enjoy our overseas content, we will be regularly updating our official English Twitter as well as launch our official English YouTube channel, so please follow them as well! Thank you very much.

ANN: As a final note, do you have a message to the overseas fans?

We are working to deliver various funny and kawaii content from Japan to people all over the world to make everyone happy. I myself did appear on an official Facebook post to deliver a steak to entertain the audiences to the best of my ability, so we would really appreciate your continuous support from here on out!

You can read more about Hololive and the fandom surrounding it on Anime News Network.

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