When Wattpad was launched 12 years ago, little did anyone know that an internet community meant to share and read stories would turn into a goldmine for television and film studios. It was a platform that let you publish stories irrespective of what any critic thought and let writers create fanfictions like nobody’s business.
But today, some of the most popular on-screen projects are stories that have stemmed from Wattpad that includes names like Netflix's 'The Kissing Booth' and Hulu's 'Light As A Feather'. The most recent of the lot is 'After', which actually started off as a One Directioner Harry Styles fanfic. Now, Sony Pictures Television has gone on to ink a deal with the platform to reinforce efforts on their original content.
The deal between the two gives SPT the first look at the stories published on the platform, making them spoilt for choice. They are also working on 'Death Is My BFF' with SyFy and a development deal with Universal Cable Productions. Apart from the western audience, the company is also working with Malaysian Iflix on 26 original films, Bavaria Fiction, Huayi Brothers Korea, and eOne.
"With more half a billion story uploads on Wattpad — and more being added every second of every day — there is no shortage of content for potential films, TV shows, books or digital media," Aron Levitz, Head of Wattpad Studios points out. The website does boast of a plethora of content, thanks to its 70 million monthly users and 565 million story uploads as of January this year. Its user base consists of millennials and Gen Z making it the perfect place for content that could aid market expansion for these networks and Levitz agrees.
"It is absolutely incredible," he says commenting on how the platform has become a new source of ideas for studios, "but it also makes perfect sense with regards to how entertainment is evolving. The entertainment industry is in a period of disruption, and how people find and experience stories is also changing."
Wattpad is smack in the middle of it all and that's where its advantage lies, he says. "With regards to entertainment, we're giving Hollywood — an industry known for having no 'sure bets' — a better way to make development decisions that are backed by data. That’s because we have billions of insights into what is resonating with audiences around the world. These insights span far beyond just what stories are most popular. We can specifically see which genres and types of stories and storytelling are resonating." And because of that, studios no longer need to "make big bets on projects that could miss the mark," he adds.