Changing the Face of Entertainment

 
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For Head of Wattpad Studios Aron Levitz, Wattpad was never about reading and writing.

He recalls a conversation he had Wattpad’s Co-Founder and CEO Allen Lau a few years ago. It’s when he realized that Wattpad had more to do with entertainment than it did with books.

“He (Allen) shows me this story based on the band One Direction that had over half a billion minutes of engagement,” Aron recounts. “So, I grab his laptop and go to One Direction’s YouTube page. They had just dropped a new single and their three-minute song on YouTube already had about 400 million views at the time. I did the math. That’s roughly 1.2 billion minutes in total. That’s when it hit me: The most ubiquitous content delivery platform in the world, YouTube, only has twice as much engagement than Wattpad. In that moment I told Allen: ‘You’re not building a reading site, you’re building an entertainment site.’ I joined the company soon after.”

Today, Aron looks at Wattpad and sees a global audience immersed in entertaining stories. He sees a place where an endless amount of original content is supported by passionate communities. He helps entertainment executives zero in on the stories with the biggest built-in audiences and works with them to identify trends, storytellers, and content on the rise.

Wattpad’s massive and engaged community, as well as our data and insights on each of the 300 million stories shared on the platform, has the potential to change how content is developed across the entertainment and publishing industries.

In a world of infinite content, Aron and the Wattpad Studios team help increase the success rate of projects by guiding executives through a fundamentally different development process. “More money is going into projects with no actual change in how development decisions are being made,” says Aron. “That’s where Wattpad Studios shows huge value. We can help executives make better development decisions earlier on in the process by leveraging our understanding of audiences and other insights. If we can prevent shows being canceled and films from flopping in theaters, that’s tens-of-millions not spent in the wrong places.”

According to Aron, soon people around the world will consume “more Wattpad not on Wattpad. Over the next year, Wattpad Studios will co-produce more books, television shows, films, and digital series. People who may never have downloaded the Wattpad app will discover Wattpad stories across multiple platforms.

The possibilities are endless. In the future, perhaps Wattpad will be behind the camera as well as producing. Maybe the title of Wattpad Star will become as ubiquitous as New-York Times Bestselling author. Regardless of what the future holds, as we celebrate 10 years of stories, we’re sure of one thing: Wattpad is entertainment.

ZAYN Shares Exclusive Content on Wattpad

Today, global superstar ZAYN is giving Wattpad’s community an exclusive sneak peek of his first autobiography self-titled Zayn prior to the official book release on November 1. ZAYN's profile on Wattpad features exclusive excerpts, including ZAYN's thoughts on fan culture, fandom, and images. Wattpad is the only place fans can get this content ahead of the book release! Wattpad is where people connect over the things they love. ZAYN is adored by many of Wattpad's 45 million users - collectively they've already shared 190,000 stories inspired by him and his music. They’ve also spent almost 17 million minutes spent reading Zayn fanfiction stories since January 2015.

Now, his biggest fans have a chance to read some of his thoughts and inspiration on Wattpad ahead of the book release. In Zayn, the musician shares a photographic journey of his life. He opens up with a collection of thoughts, inspirations, personal stories, notes and drawings, and never-before-seen personal photographs.

The international sensation has this to say about his autobiography: "I'm going to show you as much as I can so that you can judge me on my own terms, not on what the press or anyone else says."

ZAYN is among the many famed artists turning to Wattpad to provide content for fans. Stars like Amy Poehler, Tyler Oakley and Grace Helbig have provided stories, video content and exclusive material for the global community.

Zayn by ZAYN will be published in hardback on November 1st. Pre-order your copy, here.

#SurviveTheCabin: Interview with New York Times Bestseller Natasha Preston

“For months, Summer is trapped in a cellar with the man who took her - and three other girls: Rose, Poppy, and Violet. His perfect, pure flowers. His family. But flowers can't survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out…”

This chilling description for The Cellar was posted to Wattpad by Natasha Preston in 2010. Since then, Natasha has sold over 240,000 copies of the print edition to get The Cellar on New York Times bestseller list. She's even published a sequel titled The Cabin.

As part of our Halloween interview series, we connected with Natasha to get her thoughts on the greatest fear for new writers, getting started:

“At first, I had no intention of writing but after about two months I decided to give it a try,” says Natasha of her start on Wattpad. “When I started writing The Cellar I had no idea where it would go other than a pretty vague outline of the plot. I wrote a chapter and uploaded it as soon as it was finished. Each time a notification came through from Wattpad I would rush to see what my readers had said about the chapter.”

As engagement on her story increased, what started as a part-time hobby grew into a career. Today, fans of The Cellar’s print edition  still engage with the story on Wattpad. “I've noticed that since The Cellar was published I've had quite a few people coming to read the first draft version to see what changes I'd made.”

Natasha’s follow-up work The Cabin was inspired by Wattpad’s monthly #JustWriteIt challenge, a monthly prompt that encourages writers to hone their skills across a variety of genres. “The Cabin was written specifically for Wattpad's Whodunit prompt! It was originally called Covert. My editor at Sourcebooks and I went through many rewrites and edits to shape it into the version published today.”

While trying your hand at a challenge like Wattpad’s #JustWriteIt may seem scary, Natasha advises that people just take the leap: “[Just] do it! If I hadn't found Wattpad I would probably still be working a part-time admin job, unaware that there is a career I want. One thing I've learned is that there's a book out there for everyone. If you're worried that no one will like your work, I assure you someone will.”

We couldn’t agree more. Horror on Wattpad spans everything from creature features to technothrillers. And don’t forget, scary stories are always better with an audience. It’s why writing on Wattpad makes a difference. “I'd just like to say a massive thank you to Wattpad for being awesome...and finally a MASSIVE thank you to every person who has read, voted, or commented on my work on Wattpad.”

Meet The Spring Girls: Anna Todd Reimagines Little Women for 2016

Wattpad phenomenon Anna Todd, the New York Times and international Bestselling author, is set to inject some modern flavour to Louisa May Alcott’s classic, Little Women. Exclusively announced in Entertainment Weekly, Anna Todd’s modern retelling, The Spring Girls, pays homage to Alcott’s classic work by moving the work’s timeline from the Civil War era to today.

Anna’s love for classic authors first wove its way into her Wattpad story, After. In the work, her character Tessa is enamoured with stories like Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. By just mentioning the works in her story, Anna was able to drive a flood of new readers to the public domain works on Wattpad.

That level of excitement from fans is something Anna has in common with Alcott. The immediate success of Little Women in 1868 prompted Alcott’s publisher to commission her for a sequel. Both works were completed and published in a period of seven months to deal with demand from fans.

Publisher Gallery Books is set to release The Spring Girls in the fall of 2017. The revitalized work will reintroduce Anna’s fans and lovers of Alcott’s classic characters to the new and reimagined March Girls. For updates on the work, follow Anna Todd on Wattpad.

Hot Summer News from Wattpad HQ

Summer is in the air and things are starting to heat up for Wattpad in the news. With all the buzz around Wattpad Studios becoming a Hollywood idea factory, you may have missed some of the other articles on Wattpad and the Wattpad Stars. We put together this roundup to keep you in the loop. Last month, the prolific Anna Todd set down in Germany to promote her series, After. The turnout was astounding! Check out her rockstar reception, here. Meanwhile, Taran Matharu, Wattpad writer and published author, sat down for an interview with The Guardian to talk about his career and dish out some advice for new writers.

YouTube celebrity, Grace Helbig is also someone who loves to work with new writers. At this year’s VidCon, she spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her Wattpad project, Freak Week. The contest gave Wattpadders the opportunity to create an original story with her through the #WritingWithGrace story tag. Over the course of the campaign, Grace selected her favourites chapters to create a crowdsourced, original fiction. You can read the story, here, and check out a live reading of the work at VidCon, here.

Speaking of celebrities, it’s possible that no one keeps up with the Kardashians better than Wattpad Star Kevin Fanning. In this podcast, produced by Elizabeth Minkel, Kevin chats about fanfiction, branded content, and, of course, Kim K!

If that podcast put you in the mood for some wild reads, check out this list of the craziest One Direction fan fiction of all time by Refinery29.

We hope that you enjoyed this news roundup. Journalists who’d like to receive regular updates or work with our team on their next feature article can get in touch, here!