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.