Wattpad, the online story-sharing community for up-and-coming and established writers, has signed a “first-look” deal with Sony Pictures Television to develop new projects based on its vast catalog of uploaded stories, Wattpad announced yesterday.
With this new partnership, Wattpad will essentially give Sony a heads-up when it comes to projects that might make for a good TV series. According to Wattpad, the two companies will “work together to identify and develop popular narratives from the half a billion story uploads that have been shared on Wattpad,” and Sony will have access to data from Wattpad’s machine learning efforts that help it churn through the site’s uploads, identifying what stories have potential in other media formats.
Originally founded as a mobile reading platform, Wattpad has steadily transformed itself into a user-generated content library, allowing writers to upload their own work and amassing an enormous content catalog of original work as a result. Earlier this year, it launched Wattpad Books, a dedicated book imprint that plucks the best works out to publish as print editions.
The site has also been working for years to develop a pipeline between its community of writers and Hollywood. Wattpad now says nearly a thousand stories have been adapted in one form or another. The company signed an agreement back in 2016 with NBCUniversal to develop such projects, similar to its deal with the Syfy Channel last year to develop a project based on one of the site’s science fiction stories, Expiration Date. Wattpad has also worked with Sony prior to this new deal, when it bought the rights to adapt a series called Death is My BFF by writer Katarina E. Tonks.