Viacom Is Partnering With Wattpad to Adapt Content—The Future Is Fanfiction
With the success of The Kissing Both and After franchises on Netflix, it was only a matter of time before Wattpad, the original host site for these stories, teamed up with a streaming service for them to really mine the content on their platform. It seems like Paramount+ is the winner at this particular dance.
According to Variety, ViacomCBS (which owns Paramount+), has spent more than $600 million dollars on this teamup and announced that it plans to develop originals for its various networks and properties, including Paramount+. The appeal is that a lot of this media has been popular with young viewers and promises to deliver at that sweet crossover spot between Gen Z and younger millennials.
Aron Levitz, the president of Wattpad Webtoon Studios, said in a statement shared by Variety:
“Wattpad Webtoon Studios is home to some of the most exciting new voices in comics and literature. Between our massive global IP catalogue with built-in fandoms, and a roster of superstar comic artists and indie authors, we’re fueling a new era of data-backed entertainment. We’re thrilled to work with ViacomCBS International Studios, a company that shares our vision to transform entertainment by elevating the creativity and fandoms of a new generation of storytellers. Working together with ViacomCBS International Studios, we’ll bring more diverse, original voices to screens all over the world.”
Wattpad Webtoon said it currently “has more than 100 projects in development or production around the world” and has wrapped up a film adaptation of a romance on their platform called Float, by Kate Marchant.
For young people who have used Wattpad to tell stories, especially LGBTQ stories, this is exciting news (although the two biggest stories from this so far have been painfully heterosexual), mostly because it continues in the possibility of creating different entryways into content creation. Publishing is a hard place to get into as a young person, and places like Wattpad and other online art spaces feed the creative outlet in ways that are deeply nourishing.
My hope is that the writers will get paid a good amount for these works. It is ridiculous for companies to make giant piles of money on the backs of these authors doing it for the love of the game, only to not pay them for their creative work. I also hope that they will work to reach out to a diverse group of authors. A lot of work adapted so far, in addition to being very heterosexual, is also very white.
We already know that traditional publishing is overwhelmingly white—we don’t need that to be perpetuated into new forms that were supposed to be more egalitarian, but just end up being carbon copies of the same biases just on a much smaller scale.
(via The Verge, image: Wattpad)
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