Wattpad launches monetization model globally

Toronto-based Wattpad has announced that two of its monetization initiatives, Wattpad Paid Stories and Wattpad Premium, are now available to all of its users.

“These programs give users more control over their Wattpad experience, while creating a new path to monetization for our writers.”

The new programs represent an effort to monetize the online platform, for both the company and its writers. The startup, which has developed a platform for readers and writers to find and post original stories, initially launched the programs in beta to test its value in several of its markets, before deciding to launch both to its users around the world. Both initiatives will be based on Wattpad’s virtual currency, Coins, which can be obtained through Apple or Google Pay.

“Every decision we make at Wattpad supports both our writers and our business,” said Jeanne Lam, general manager of Wattpad. “We’ve built a global entertainment company and the largest social storytelling platform on the planet by prioritizing initiatives that help the community thrive and help creators through their entire journey, from writing to monetization. These programs give users all over the world more control over their Wattpad experience, while creating a new path to monetization for our writers.”

Wattpad Premium is Wattpad’s ad-free subscription tier, offering readers an uninterrupted reading experience and access to customizable profile colours. Wattpad Premium subscribers will also receive bonus Coins, up to 66 percent more free Coins, with every purchase of any Wattpad Coin package to unlock Wattpad Paid Stories.

The startup’s new subscription tier costs $5.99 USD for monthly subscriptions or $4.99 for an annual subscription. It initially launched in 2017 to English-language countries, rolling out to select regions throughout 2018 and 2019 before Thursday’s global launch.

Wattpad Paid Stories, the company’s exclusive paid content program, allows users to directly reward writers by purchasing stories on Wattpad. The company said the majority of Wattpad stories will remain free to users, but that a small selection will now be available exclusively through this new program. Users can read exclusive stories by purchasing Coins, opting to either choose to unlock one chapter at a time or the entire story.

There are currently more than 150 stories available for purchase by chapter or as full stories. The program initially launched in beta in fall 2018 in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and the Philippines.

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Wattpad had added the feature to English and Spanish-language regions earlier in the year, before launching the program globally. The company said during its beta phase, users read more than 5.5 million minutes of Wattpad Paid Stories in the last month.

“Paid Stories has been a huge step in the start of my career of writing fiction professionally,” said Ellen Kirkpatrick, a Wattpad writer. “Knowing that readers from around the world have paid their hard-earned cash to purchase my story is amazing and humbling. It’s so gratifying to know that my writing is worth something to someone and that people want to hear the story I’m trying to tell.”

Wattpad has made some significant moves this year, both in Canada and abroad. It recently announced a partnership and strategic investment with Indian media conglomerate Times Bridge in addition to Sony to produce stories from the platform.

Last year, Wattpad formed a content partnership with Malaysia-based streaming service Iflix to co-produce its users’ stories for Iflix users in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. At the beginning of the year, the company created a publishing division, Wattpad Books. The company more recently tapped Seema Lakhani as its new chief product officer.

Image courtesy 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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