SPT entered into a co-production deal with Wattpad for original TV programming, giving Sony a first look at new Wattpad stories. The companies plan to work together to identify and develop popular stories shared on Wattpad platform. The deal, announced Wednesday, will be overseen by Eric Lehrman, Wattpad’s head of content development and production.
According to Wattpad, 70 million monthly users engage with stories across all genres — generating billions of data points daily about fan interactions. Wattpad has created what it calls Story DNA Machine Learning technology to identify new intellectual property and storytellers that have the most potential. The SPT agreement covers original stories, not fan fiction, according to Wattpad.
The deal’s announcement follows news last month that Sony Pictures Television, Wattpad and Greg Silverman’s Stampede are developing “Death Is My BFF” for Syfy. The “Death is My BFF” series, penned by Katerina E. Tonks, has more than 62 million reads to date on Wattpad. Lindsey Rosin (“Cruel Intentions”) has been tapped to adapt it for television.
Wattpad is represented by UTA, which helped broker the deal with Sony Pictures Television.
“Wattpad has solidified itself as a powerful platform to identify new content, spot emerging trends and help Wattpad creators transition IP into film and television,” said stated UTA Head of Emerging Platforms, Oren Rosenbaum. “This new partnership with Sony will competitively position both companies in the ever changing content ecosystem.”
Added Aron Levitz, head of Wattpad Studios, “The stories and diverse voices on Wattpad deserve to be heard all over the world. And our partnership with Sony does just that: bringing Wattpad stories to new and existing fans all over the planet.’
Wattpad also has a development deal with Universal Cable Productions, first announced in 2016. The UCP pact has resulted in multiple projects set up at the studio and others sold to networks, including “Expiration Date,” a pilot currently shooting with Syfy.
In addition, Wattpad produces “Light as a Feather” with Viacom’s Awesomeness and Grammnet for Hulu, with Season 2 in production and slated to debut this summer. Netflix’s romance movie “The Kissing Booth” started on Wattpad, where it accumulated 19 million reads, and “After,” based on Anna Todd’s One Direction-inspired YA romance story and subsequent best-selling novel, is currently in theaters.
According to Wattpad, to date almost 1,000 stories posted on the service have been adapted into books, TV shows, films, or digital projects. Founded in 2006, Wattpad investors include China’s Tencent Holdings. BDC, Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, and Raine Group.