FAN fiction is not something to be dismissed. Anna Todd wrote After on Wattpad and it became an international sensation, with a billion reads on the site before becoming a best-selling book and a hit film. The movie opened No. 1 in 17 countries, going on to become the highest-grossing independent film so far for 2019. It also won three Teen Choice Awards.
After started out as a story inspired by One Direction with the lead character patterned after Harry Styles.
So why am I talking about fan fiction?
It is because Wattpad, the global multi-platform company for original stories, and Viu, a leading pan-regional OTT video service from PCCW Media Group, have announced a collaboration to develop Viu Original series and film projects based on Wattpad stories. Via the collaboration, Viu will work with Wattpad to develop youth-oriented shows across its markets. The two companies will leverage Wattpad’s Story DNA Machine Learning technology to identify exceptional stories and guide the development process.
Wattpad has become the go-to place for global entertainment companies to find hit projects for young adult audiences. I do know that one or two entertainment companies have partnerships with Wattpad. Viu operates across 17 markets in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, India and South Africa, with subscribers spending an average 1.2 to 1.8 hours daily on the platform.
Wattpad, on the other hand, has a global community of 80 million users, including more than 22 million users across the Asia Pacific region who spend billions of minutes on the platform every month. Ninety percent of Wattpad’s users are Gen Z and millennials.
“All over the world, millions of young people spend billions of minutes reading and writing every genre imaginable on Wattpad. We will continue to invest in original content to develop a sustainable ecosystem with local creators and providing them with a platform for their content. Wattpad has its finger on the pulse of youth culture, and with this collaboration we are able to enable the youth to connect global audiences on Viu’s engaged base,” said Helen Sou, senior vice president for digital media, PCCW Media Group.
“Gen Z and millennials are zealous consumers of online content. We know that young Viu-ers are not only listening to pop music and watching teen drama, they are also making their own stories and reading other young writers’ stories on Wattpad. So we collaborate with Wattpad to transform these stories that they love into another format not only to reach audiences who primarily consume video content but also to celebrate the stories that the youth create,” said Ari Kader-Cu, country manager for Viu Philippines.
“Viu is a leader in bringing diverse, high-quality entertainment to audiences, while also creating new models for people to experience great storytelling. Viu knows what people love to watch, and its forward-looking approach is what makes it an ideal partner for Wattpad. We are thrilled to work with Viu to bring more Wattpad stories to screens around the world,” said Allen Lau, chief executive officer and cofounder of Wattpad.
Viu has been expanding its originals output, with successful productions such as adaptation of global phenomenon The Bridge, which is available on HBO Asia’s channels and services throughout Asia; and experimental regional format No Sleep, No FOMO, the success of which has resulted in a new tie-up with Discovery to reach a wider audience. Viu plans to have over 80 scripted and nonscripted Viu Original titles this year.
Viu is the latest international entertainment company to strike a deal with Wattpad. Some of Wattpad’s other partners include Sony Pictures Television, Mediacorp and Huayi Brothers Korea.