This past week Wattpad announced a partnership with Brazil’s Wise Entertainment, described by Wattpad as its “first major development deal in Latin America.”
Wise Entertainment is the Rio-based independent studio behind the six-time Emmy-nominated series East Los High, that has partnered with Wattpad in an,
exclusive deal to develop Portuguese-language Wattpad stories as television series and films for audiences in Brazil.
The Wattpad statement explains the deal,
allows Wise Entertainment to tap into Wattpad’s unmatched mix of creative expertise and Story DNA Machine Learning Technology.
Wise Entertainment and Wattpad will work to bring new Brazilian voices to local and international audiences.
I’ll come back to the specifics of this deal shortly. First to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
As we reported back in August, Wattpad reached a new milestone with 80 million monthly users around the world.
Per our August assessment,
Wattpad is not some decades old mainstream publishing operation owned by a big multinational corporation, nor a tech giant with revenue streams from other sectors to fund its publishing endeavours.
Wattpad is a digital-first mobile phone app drawing an audience from parts of the world where conventional wisdom has it nobody reads.
Wattpad is proof that a huge volume of digital reading (and writing) is happening in the dark digital shadows of the global publishing industry we all know, untracked by Nielsen and all the other industry stats-counters we rely on to tell us the health of global publishing and what people around the world are reading.
Nor is this just about the emerging markets. The USA is the single largest component of the Wattpad audience, yet these readers do not exist in the Nielsen or BookStat (Data Guy) numbers that purport to tell us the state of the US book market.
That’s fair enough to a point. Nielsen tracks books sold, not words read. BookStat purports to know Amazon’s subscription numbers, APub numbers and indie author sales.
But neither track digital library sales, subscription downloads other than Kindle Unlimited (which BookStat implausibly claims to know as well as Amazon), or the untold millions of unpaid downloads of “free” ebooks from the retail sites.
And neither track the digital reading apps like Wattpad, Dreame, or a host of other digital alternatives that ten years ago were hardly a blip on the radar of readers, but today are where millions of readers head to as their preferred place to read.
Millions? STARRY’s Dreame hit one million monthly active users in its first six months –
while Wattpad, which has been around a lot longer, now reaches 80 million users per month.
Ignoring these digital readers who are not spending consumer dollars on “ebooks” at the mainstream retailers feeds the faux narrative that digital reading is on the wane.
Returning to the case made on TNPS in August,
These are not just the readers and authors we all know about but that the industry would prefer not to talk about and acknowledge only in hushed tones, like the self-publishing sector, where every month untold millions of dollars and reading hours are funneled away from mainstream publishing, largely through Amazon.
These are readers and authors (some from the established self-publishing sector) that swim in an uncharted ocean, occasionally surfacing to be snapped up by a big trade publisher or film mogul or TV company, but mostly silent and unnoticed – except by millions upon millions of eager readers for whom Wattpad, not Amazon or Barnes & Noble, is their first stop for reading entertainment.
Which brings us back to the latest deal by Wattpad, partnering with Brazil’s Wise Entertainment.
From the Wattpad press release:
Wattpad has achieved global success adapting hit stories for screens, and is the source for some of the biggest recent hits in teen and young adult film and TV. Wattpad is producer on Hulu’s Emmy-nominated series Light as a Feather, from author Zoe Aarsen, and the Teen Choice Award-winning film and best-selling novel After from Anna Todd, both of which originated on Wattpad. Netflix’s global smash-hit film The Kissing Booth also started as a Wattpad story from writer Beth Reekles.
Wise Entertainment is the latest international entertainment company to strike a deal with Wattpad. The company has major deals and projects in development with partners spanning North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Companies like Sony Pictures Television, Viu, Mediacorp, NL Film, Mediaset, eOne, Lagardere Studios, iflix, SYFY, Huayi Brothers Korea, Bavaria Fiction, CBC, and others currently work with Wattpad.
Speaking about the Wise Entertainment deal, Aron Levitz, Head of Wattpad Studios, said,
Wattpad is where the world’s greatest emerging writers are creating life-changing stories. Every day, we see the creativity and passion of people finding their voice and building a global audience around it. This mix is exactly why studios are coming to Wattpad to find untold stories with built-in audiences. We’re thrilled to work with Wise Entertainment to bring some of Brazil’s most creative storytellers to screens everywhere.
While Wise Entertainment co-president Mauricio Mota, said,
At Wise Entertainment we are always looking for powerful stories from marginalized voices. Wattpad has a community of millions of young people who are sharing these diverse perspectives on a daily basis. Wattpad created an ecosystem that is both a storytelling community and a cultural compass for IPs and new voices. We can’t wait to work with them to bring exciting new stories to screens in Brazil and Brazilian stories in Portuguese to the world.
Wattpad does not share with us its Brazilian engagement numbers, but as the fourth largest country on the planet by internet users (149 million) it’s a safe bet Brazil will prove rewarding for both Wattpad and Wise Entertainment as this partnership progresses.