Wattpad has launched a new service in the US allowing readers to purchase exclusive content from writers on the platform.
The launch of Wattpad Next (beta) in the region will reach the company’s 13 million monthly US users. The program has been running in Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and the Philippines since October. There are currently 50 stories available in the program, though the company plans to add a new round of writers and stories in early 2019. Wattpad Next (beta) is currently an invitation-only program for writers.
“Wattpad users around the world have overwhelmingly embraced the chance to support their favorite writers through the Wattpad Next (beta) program,” said Allen Lau, CEO and co-founder of Wattpad. “This program is part of our commitment to helping writers earn money from their stories, monetizing stories both on and off of Wattpad. Along with opportunities to connect with brands, and work with Wattpad Studios to turn their stories into books, TV shows, films, and digital projects, writers can now make money directly from the fans that have supported them since their first page. The beta phase of Wattpad Next is just the beginning, as we look at new ways to help support Wattpad writers around the world.”
Wattpad Next (beta) stories can be purchased with the company’s virtual currency, called Coins. A range of Coin packs are available, from 99 cents to $7.99.
The company noted that the launch of the service is part of its Master Plan for content monetization; its Wattpad Studios program focuses on co-producing popular Wattpad stories for movies and film, and the company launched its subscription Wattpad Premium service in October 2017. The company confirmed a $61.25 million funding round led by Tencent in January 2018 to invest in its machine learning capabilities; Wattpad said that its Story DNA machine learning technology helps Wattpad discover stand-out stories among 565 million uploads on the platform, which boasts 70 million monthly users.
The program will be available globally in 2019.