Storytelling Platform Wattpad Launches Studio Division

Courtesy of JD Witkowski; Book Courtesy of Simon & Schuster
Anna Todd

The Toronto startup is working with its storytellers to develop projects for film and TV.

Online publishing platform Wattpad has become home to more than two million writers who have created hundreds of millions of original stories. Now, the Toronto-based online community wants to bring those stories to new platforms, including film and TV. 
The company is launching Wattpad Studios to help some of its most influential storytellers adapt their works for print, film, television and digital distribution. Wattpad is rolling several of its initiatives under this new division, including its influencer program, publishing program and data analysis. Wattpad Presents, which produces a show in the Philippines, also falls under the new Wattpad Studios. 
“We have amazing voices, great stories and the data behind it,” says Aron Levitz, newly promoted head of Wattpad Studios. “We’re really going to help the entertainment industry take the guesswork out of creating.” 
Wattpad and its devoted audience rose to prominence through writer Anna Todd, who used the platform to publish fan-fiction hit After. She parlayed her success on Wattpad into a publishing deal and a development deal with Paramount for a film based on the series, which includes several After sequels as well as Before told from the point of view of the male protagonist. Wattpad Studios will look to create more such opportunities for its more influential writers, designated Wattpad Stars. The company says it has already inked strategic partnerships with UTA, Paramount and TV5 Networks in the Philippines and will add other partners to develop a pipeline for its creators. 
“Not only has Wattpad created a vibrant platform for new original voices, but the Wattpad Studios initiative will allow Wattpad to now migrate some of their emerging writers into film and television while remaining under the aegis and creative partnership of Wattpad,” said Howard Sanders, UTA partner and co-head of the agency’s book department. “It’s a meaningful opportunity for Wattpad to extend their brand, and a great opportunity for new voices.”         
Levitz adds that Wattpad is able to provide entertainment partners with data that showcases how many of its authors come with loyal, engaged audiences that would help propel interest in a film or TV project. He explains: “We’re bringing installed fanbases that are in love with the property and are rabid about it.”