Universal plans to bring Wattpad stories to TV

Social publishing platform Wattpad is making its biggest move into Hollywood yet thanks to a new deal with Universal Cable Productions.

UCP is a TV production company owned by NBCUniversal — it’s produced shows including USA’s Mr. Robot, SyFy’s The Magicians and Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. As a result of the deal, the company plans to develop new shows based on stories published on Wattpad — stories it says it will identify, in part, by getting access to custom Wattpad data.

“Wattpad data will help spot compelling stories with massive built-in audiences, and fans will influence the development process,” said Wattpad Studios head Aron Levitz in the partnership release. “There’s no place for hunches and guesses when it comes to content development these days. Data- and community-driven entertainment is the future, and Wattpad Studios is leading the way.”

UCP isn’t announcing any specific shows yet. A Wattpad spokesperson told me the company is looking to develop around five projects a year — but of course there’s no guarantee that any of those projects will make it onto TV.

Wattpad says it reaches 45 million people each month, while its community members have published more than 300 million stories. This isn’t actually the company’s first foray into TV. For one thing, the TV5 network in the Philippines already adapted stories for its show Wattpad Presents.

More broadly, Wattpad has signaled an ambition to bring its stories to other media thanks to a partnership with Hollywood agency UTA and the launch of its Wattpad Studios division earlier this year.