In a continuing effort to generate revenue, Wattpad, the online reading and writing community, is launching Wattpad Studios. The new division will partner with film and entertainment companies to develop media properties out of the content on the website.
The new division marks the latest effort by the online platform to create revenue by striking deals for itself and Wattpad writers. Wattpad is designed for mobile reading and writing and attracts more than 40 million visitors a month, with its core demographic skewing toward teenage girls. The site offers a repository of more than 250 million stories uploaded by its members.
Aron Levitz, who has handled Wattpads’s monetization strategy, has been promoted to oversee Wattpad Studios.
A Wattpad spokesperson said the goals of the new division is to "drive revenue growth across the company,” in addition to providing new compensation opportunities to “the two million creators and writers who use Wattpad.”
“We are working with the biggest and best brands to commission these writers to create amazing works of fiction,” Levitz said. “We are searching for new types of revenue for the talented writers in the Wattpad Stars program”
Levitz said the goal of initiatives like Wattpad Studios is help the site’s best writers “find opportunities to earn money.” Levitz said “we do take a small percentage, but the writer receives the majority of the earnings.” The majority of Wattpad writers own the rights to works they upload to Wattpad, but Levitz said that “in certain instances Wattpad may license the work directly from the writer.”
Wattpad will “act as connector” between Wattpad writers and partners to “find a right fit for their story,” Levitz explained. Wattpad will also help manage that aspect of the writer’s career. “For many properties developed under Wattpad Studios, we will also play a producer role.” He acknowledged that “this hasn’t really been done before, so a traditional label like ‘agent’ doesn’t exactly capture the role that Wattpad plays.”
A Wattpad spokesperson said the company has hired an L.A.-based director of sales, and is “building our presence in Hollywood.” Levitz will take the lead setting up deals for Wattpad Studios and work on a bi-coastal basis, operating from Toronto, where Wattpad is based, as well as Hollywood. Ashleigh Gardner, who heads up the partnership program for Wattpad Studos, will continue to oversee book publishing initiatives.
Wattpad Studios incorporates earlier monetization initiatives such Wattpad Stars, which connects the site’s most popular writers with paid and promotional writing jobs, and Wattpad Presents, a partnership to develop Wattpad stories for television. Wattpad Studios will also include Wattpad Brands, which commissions popular Wattpad writers to produce native advertising for big name brands like AT&T, and Wattpad Insights, a subscription service that allows media executives to see proprietary data on what is trending on the Wattpad platform and identifies emerging Wattpad stars.
Wattpad has already reached promotional partnership agreements Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and Sourcebooks, which use the site to market their authors to the Wattpad community. Wattpad also has reached partnerships with such entertainment companies as United Talent Agency, Paramount Pictures, Management 360 and TV5 Network in the Phillippines.