Wattpad has long been a pipeline bringing content adaptations of stories by emerging writers to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Now, ViacomCBS and Wattpad’s studio arm are teaming up to spin out a slate of original series from successful titles on Wattpad and Webtoon.
Wattpad has been a story springboard for streaming services for years — The Kissing Booth and the After franchises are two notable examples — in part because Wattpad is able to mine a trove of internal data about how readers are interacting with stories and what specific kind of storytelling they return to. That can easily translate to hit franchises for services hungry for new original content, particularly for content that appeals to younger viewers. (After, for example, started out as Harry Styles fanfiction published on Wattpad.)
ViacomCBS plans to work with the publisher’s entertainment arm to mine stories from Wattpad and its sister site Webtoon, whose parent company Naver snapped up Wattpad for more than $600 million dollars earlier this year. Wattpad Webtoon Studios will work with ViacomCBS to develop originals for its various networks and properties, including Paramount Plus, the companies announced today.
The originals are expected to appeal specifically to Gen Z and millennial audiences and will be sourced from a range of genres.
“Wattpad Webtoon Studios is home to some of the most exciting new voices in comics and literature,” Aron Levitz, president of Wattpad Webtoon Studios, said in a statement. “Between our massive global IP catalogue with built-in fandoms, and a roster of superstar comic artists and indie authors, we’re fueling a new era of data-backed entertainment.”