The stories will be selected from the 6 million pieces of Indonesian content uploaded to Wattpad. The companies say that machine learning will guide the selection process.
Aggregate production budgets were not disclosed and multiple funding components are involved. Iflix and Wattpad have so far identified 26 project for production. Leading Indonesian production firm Screenplay is expected to commit to co-fund and co-produce at least 15 of them. Other titles are likely to find homes with other Indonesian producers, and be announced in the coming weeks.
The finished films will play on iflix’s free tier and across all the countries in its footprint. Depending on the deals with Screenplay and the other local producers, some of the titles may be given limited theatrical releases in Indonesia.
“This is our first really big foray into film production. Some of the films, not all, might get limited theatrical run,” an iflix spokesman told Variety. “The idea is to make them as widely available as possible, through our platform, but we also want to build the brand.” There are currently no plans to distribute the films outside iflix’s region.
Indonesia is the biggest territory in iflix’s 28-territory footprint. The company’s operations span developing countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Indonesia is also the biggest market in the region for Wattpad, which counts 17 million users in Southeast Asia and has previously seen some of its content developed into shows in the Philippines. There it worked with TV5 to create and co-produce the Wattpad Presents series, with 250 episodes, based on 76 Wattpad stories.
“This deal represents the future of entertainment, where technology and data converge with new voices in storytelling to transform how great content gets made and distributed. Working with iflix, we can bring our millions of passionate users in Indonesia and Southeast Asia exactly what they want: local stories that they already love and can’t wait to see adapted for the screen,” said Aron Levitz, head of Wattpad Studios.
“With traditional distribution and platform requirements no longer a constraint and deep data and analytics available to measure performance and engagement, this deal allows us to create exciting original productions from hugely popular local stories,” said iflix chief content officer Sean Carey.