Wattpad creates fund to develop TV, film projects in latest attempt to “verticalize” business

Wattpad founders

Toronto-based Wattpad is launching two film projects that are part of a new fund aimed to finance and kickstart the early production stages of select TV and film projects originally penned by Wattpad’s writer community.

“We’re expanding our investment in early-stage development, adapting incredible stories for new formats.”

The Wattpad Development Fund will use the company’s data-backed insights to discover stories and trends from its platform that can be adapted. The development fund will finance the early stages of that production, including screenwriting, casting, and onboarding a director. Once the project is kickstarted, Wattpad will then work with a studio to move the projects into production.

Wattpad said by increasing investment in early development, it can fast-track stories for screen to create more success with audiences. The fund will also allow the company to bring up-and-coming Wattpad stories to viewers.

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Kiel Hume, Wattpad’s communications lead, told BetaKit the company intends to work on two productions per year. Wattpad financed the fund internally and refused to disclose its size.

The company called the development fund its latest attempt to “verticalize” the business. Hume explained the idea as finding new opportunities and formats to tell stories written by Wattpad’s writers. Wattpad has also verticalized through its publishing subsidiary, Wattpad Books, as well as its paid content program. Hume said this fund will allow the company to tap into a third opportunity to showcase Wattpad stories.

“With these new film projects, we’re expanding our investment in early-stage development, adapting incredible stories for new formats and helping them find new fans everywhere,” said Aron Levitz, head of Wattpad Studios.

Wattpad typically works with a number of studios around the world to produce films and television shows. The company currently has about 50 productions in development. In September, the company partnered with Wise Entertainment in Latin America and has inked major deals and projects with partners in North America, Europe, and Asia.

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Hume told BetaKit that films and shows developed from the new fund will not affect Wattpad’s existing productions or partnerships.

“Our partners all program for their specific goals, so when we help them find new content, we’re always looking for specific types of genres or stories that match their needs,” Hume said. “With our development fund, we’re looking at amazing stories that just don’t fit with what our partners are looking for in one way or another.”

The two projects currently being developed through the fund are titled The Hound and What Happened That Night. The Hound is a suspense and horror story that will be adapted by screenwriter Angela LaManna. What Happened That Night is a thriller and coming-of-age story that will be adapted by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter David Arata.

Image source Wattpad.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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