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Literary Licensing: Wattpad Partners With ViacomCBS On Book-To-Series Deal

The innovative publishing platform Wattpad is teaming up with ViacomCBS to create a slate of new TV series.

Wattpad is a different type of publishing service, as it focuses on creating success for writers whose stories catch on with the platform’s audience. For example, Wattpad has its own studio arm, which is the division that will work with ViacomCBS. Those stories will be created from successful book or comic book titles on both Wattpad and the associated Webtoon service.

“Wattpad Webtoon Studios is home to some of the most exciting new voices in comics and literature,” said Aron Levitz, president of Wattpad Webtoon Studios. “Between our massive global IP catalog with built-in fandoms, and a roster of superstar comic artists and indie authors, we’re fueling a new era of data-backed entertainment.”

These will hardly be the first series to spring from Wattpad’s deep well of literary content. The Kissing Booth and the After franchises are two notable examples of series that came from stories or novels. The After franchise, for example, started out as Harry Styles fanfiction published on Wattpad.

The company says that success is due in part to Wattpad’s ability to mine a trove of internal data about how readers are interacting with stories, and what specific kind of storytelling they return to. That can easily translate to hit franchises for services hungry for new original content, particularly for content that appeals to younger viewers.

ViacomCBS plans to work with the publisher’s entertainment arm to mine stories from Wattpad and its sister site Webtoon, whose parent company Naver snapped up Wattpad for more than $600 million dollars earlier this year. Wattpad’s Webtoon Studios will work with ViacomCBS to develop originals for its various networks and properties, including Paramount Plus, the companies announced this week.

The originals are expected to appeal specifically to Gen Z and millennial audiences and will be sourced from a range of genres.

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