Wattpad Brand Partnerships Launches Wattpad Brand Originals, a New Branded Entertainment Offering

Wattpad Brand Originals connects brands with Wattpad’s global community of diverse Gen Z writers to create branded TV and film projects

As consumers spend more time in ad-free environments, Wattpad Brand Originals allow brands to partner with a new generation of Gen Z creators

Wattpad, the global multi-platform entertainment company for original stories and leading social storytelling platform, today announced the launch of Wattpad Brand Originals, a new branded entertainment offering from Wattpad Brand Partnerships. Wattpad Brand Originals will develop branded TV series, films, podcasts, and digital media projects from hit Wattpad stories, allowing brands to tap into and collaborate with Wattpad’s world-famous long-form Influencers and global Gen Z community.

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“Advertising is evolving, and brands need to find new ways to connect with Gen Z audiences that are spending more of their time in ad-free environments”

Wattpad Brand Originals will be supported by the entertainment experts at Wattpad Studios, Wattpad’s TV, film, and publishing division. Wattpad Brand Originals combines Wattpad Brand Partnerships’ global Gen Z expertise, Wattpad’s innovative Story DNA Machine Learning technology, and the company’s success producing hit TV shows and films. As home to one of the most diverse groups of storytellers on the planet, with five million writers and a community of 90 million readers, Wattpad is the world’s leading destination for Gen Z to write novels and long-form stories. To date nearly 1,500 Wattpad stories have been published as books or adapted for TV or film.

Wattpad Brand Originals allows brands to create authentic, Hollywood-quality TV shows, films, and digital media projects in collaboration with Gen Z creators on Wattpad. Leveraging Wattpad’s Story DNA Machine Learning technology to identify stand-out stories among the more than one billion uploads on the platform, brands can co-produce a Wattpad Brand Original from an existing popular story on Wattpad with a built-in audience.

Wattpad will provide distribution expertise, working with brand partners to bring Wattpad Brand Originals to TV and cinema screens everywhere, supporting brands through content selection, creative development, and distribution. Additionally, Wattpad will work with brand partners to market Wattpad Brand Originals to Wattpad’s global community of 90 million people, allowing fans to follow their favourite Wattpad stories to new formats.

As consumers increasingly move towards subscription and streaming services, as well as other ad-free environments, many brands are struggling to connect with audiences. According to eMarketer, more than one-third of U.S. households will “cut the cord” on pay TV by 2024. These effects are already being felt across the industry, with a 15% drop in TV ad spending in 2020. eMarketer summarizes the growing industry awareness that, “given trends in cord-cutting, audience erosion, and growth in streaming video, more ad dollars will shift from TV to digital video in the future.”

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Research from Wattpad suggests this consumer move away from linear TV is more pronounced among Gen Z: recent data indicates that nearly half (45%) of Gen Z surveyed* by Wattpad hardly ever or never watch linear TV. At the same time, research from Wattpad’s Gen Z Census indicates that 47% of Gen Z surveyed do not feel well-represented in marketing and branding. Gen Z has a deep understanding of how a lack of representation has left marginalized groups outside of traditional media, and they also see that lack of representation in marketing.

“Advertising is evolving, and brands need to find new ways to connect with Gen Z audiences that are spending more of their time in ad-free environments,” said Chris Stefanyk, Head of Brand Partnerships at Wattpad. “Wattpad Brand Originals allow mission-driven brands to work with diverse Gen Z creators to tell meaningful stories that can change the world. This is a chance to support the communities, values, and narratives that are important to Gen Z. Wattpad Brand Originals are the future of branded entertainment. We are bringing together one of the world’s largest IP libraries, a data-driven approach to entertainment, and projects with built-in fan bases that are proven to follow their favourite Wattpad stories to screens.”

Wattpad’s entertainment expertise and growing slate of hit TV and film projects are fueling on-screen hits all over the world. Wattpad Studios currently has 90 TV and film projects in development with partners like Sony Pictures Television, eOne, Bavaria Fiction, and many others. Standout projects include Hulu’s Light as a Feather, produced by Wattpad, AwesomenessTV, and Grammnet, which received 10 Daytime Emmy Nominations over two seasons. In 2019, the film adaptation of After, the hit Wattpad story and best-selling novel, won three Teen Choice Awards and a People’s Choice Award for Best Drama Film. The 2020 sequel, After We Collided, an indie hit, and two additional sequels have been greenlit.

Wattpad Brand Partnerships works with the world’s biggest brands to connect with Wattpad’s massive global community of more than 90 million people, of which more than 80% are Gen Z. Wattpad’s Gen Z expertise and insights have helped brands like National Geographic, Microsoft, Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s, Sony, Netflix, Lionsgate, and many others connect with this group. Brand Partnerships has been recognized with industry awards, including Content Marketing and User-Generated Content awards from Digiday (2018 and 2019), a Shorty Social Good Award (2019), and an Influence THIS Award (2019).

Wattpad’s innovations in entertainment and technology have been recognized around the world. In 2020, Fast Company named Wattpad as one of the World’s Most Innovative companies. The recognition was followed by the prestigious Producer of the Year Award from Banff World Media in 2020.

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