Ong Joins as Wattpad Continues its International Entertainment Expansion with New Roles for Europe and Publishing
TORONTO - April 5, 2018 - Wattpad, the global multiplatform entertainment company for original stories, today announced the appointment of Dexter Ong as Head of Asia for Wattpad Studios. Ong will oversee Wattpad Studios’ expansion in Asian markets, where he’ll work with local entertainment studios, producers, and writers to turn Wattpad stories into film, television, print and digital projects. He will be based in Hong Kong.
Ong joins Wattpad after the company recently closed $51 million in new funding from high-profile Asian investors, including China’s Tencent and Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures in the Philippines, as well other international partners. Wattpad is the largest social storytelling platform in nearly every market on the planet, with a global community of more than 65 million users, including more than 17 million people in Southeast Asia who spend billions of minutes on the platform every month. The company has previously partnered with the TV5 Network in the Philippines to co-produce the Wattpad Presents anthology series. The show produced 250 episodes based on Wattpad stories.
“Southeast Asia is one of our most important regions globally, with some of our most dedicated and passionate users,” said Aron Levitz, Head of Wattpad Studios. “Not only have users across the region spent billions of hours on Wattpad, they’ve embraced Wattpad film and TV adaptations, making them into local hits. Dexter’s regional expertise and global perspective are the perfect combination to help us expand our entertainment footprint in Asia.”
Previously, Ong was the Director of Corporate Development for 21st Century Fox Asia, where he developed corporate strategies for production and digital video products. Prior to 21st Century Fox, Ong was with CA Media, the Asia arm of The Chernin Group, where he led content development for NET TV.
“With so many content options for consumers, entertainment companies need to find stories that people actually want to watch,” said Ong. “With more than 400 million stories from original voices from all over the world and built-in audiences, Wattpad’s data and insights make it possible to uncover the next bingeable series, bestselling book, or blockbuster hit. I’m looking forward to helping Wattpad bring more original stories to market that will captivate audiences in Asia and beyond.”
In addition to Ong’s hire, Wattpad also recently promoted Kelly Steen to Wattpad Studios’ Director of Business Development for U.S. and Europe; Ashleigh Gardner was promoted to Deputy General Manager, Wattpad Studios, Publishing. The company plans to add 40 positions in 2018 to support its expanding international entertainment business, as well as work in Machine Learning and interactive storytelling
Ong is the latest industry veteran to join Wattpad. Last year, Eric Lehrman joined the company as Head of Content Development, Production, moving from NBCUniversal’s USA Network.
Wattpad Studios partners with the entertainment industry to co-produce Wattpad stories for TV, film, digital video, and print. Wattpad Studios takes the guesswork out of the development process, transforming entertainment and publishing with data-driven decision-making, and leading these industries to new audiences, new stories and more wins, all with data. Current partners include Universal Cable Productions, eOne, CW Seed, Hachette Romans, HarperCollins Children’s Books, to name a few.