Turner’s TNT and TBS are teaming with Wattpad, an online community for users to share and read original stories, to give Wattpad’s 45 million users the chance to have their works adapted by the networks for TV, digital and mobile platforms.
The first project under the partnership will be for TNT’s “Tales From the Crypt” horror block from executive producer M. Night Shyamalan, slated to premiere in 2017. Working together they will also extend their collaboration to sourcing content for both TNT and its sister network TBS. TNT and Wattpad will invite writers to submit story ideas through the official Turner profile on Wattpad related to “Tales From the Crypt.”
In addition, under the pact, TNT and TBS will gain access to Wattpad data and analytics to help identify promising talent and trends across genres.
“Our partnership with Wattpad is a perfect intersection of content and fan engagement, where fans actually have the chance to directly influence and, in some cases even have their material optioned and developed by our networks,” Justin Williams, senior VP of digital ventures for TNT and TBS, said in a prepared statement. The initial collaboration for “Tales From the Crypt” will tap into “Wattpad’s strength in the horror genre,” he added.
The Turner deal comes after Wattpad’s formation this spring of Wattpad Studios, which operates like multichannel network and is aimed at striking deals with entertainment companies to co-produce stories shared on Wattpad for TV, film, print and digital platforms. Wattpad Studios is headed by Aron Levitz, previously the company’s head of business development.
“Through our partnership with Turner, Wattpad’s powerful insights, roster of influential writers, and hyper-engaged community of fans will help define the new scary,” said Levitz.
TBS and TNT’s development teams will review stories submitted via Wattpad with an eye toward discovering ideas for television, digital and/or mobile platforms. The networks will then work with Wattpad to share story ideas and other material with Wattpad users to receive feedback. UTA represented Wattpad on the Turner deal.
In a separate Wattpad-fueled project, YouTube star Grace Helbig launched “Writing with Grace” with the story-sharing service in March as part of AT&T’s HelloLab series. Helbig enlisted her fans to use Wattpad to write a “crowdsourced novella” for the eight-episode weekly web series on her YouTube channel.
Wattpad says more than 2 million writers share something every month on the platform, with over 250 million uploads to date. More than 24 hours of reading material is posted to Wattpad every minute, and active users spend an average of 30 minutes per day on the service.
Toronto-based Wattpad, founded in 2006, has raised $66.8 million in funding to date from investors including August Capital, Golden Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, Northleaf Capital Partners, OMERS Ventures, Raine Ventures, Union Square Ventures and W Media Ventures.