#Quantum16: The Philippines: How Wattpad turned online fiction into a multimedia phenomenon.

Part of the Around the World in 8 Hours virtual conference. In the publishing landscape, it’s interesting when something different causes its own revolution. While Wattpad has attracted millions of users across the world, the impact it’s had on the Philippines is something else. Porter Anderson led the Twitter chat with Ashleigh Gardner of Wattpad, and Christine and Francis of Summit Books, to delve into the impact its had on the country.

So let’s begin with the platform itself. “Every month over 40 million people use Wattpad,” explains Ashleigh, “with a new user joining each second. Those 40 million people are writing *A LOT*, with over 24 hours of reading added to Wattpad every minute. Last month, people spent 13 billion minutes on Wattpad at an average of 30 minutes per user, per session.”

Where does the Philippines come into this? “The Philippines is Wattpad’s 2nd largest community with 5 million people.” More so, it seems one of the most popular evocations of Wattpad material there is in TV shows, like:

They’ve also seen Wattpad stories turned into feature films:

“Popular stories are chosen from Wattpad in the Philippines and dramatised as a changing-weekly miniseries,” she adds. “In the Philippines, our Wattpad writers are celebrities. Even our CEO @allenlau is! The demographic of users in the Philippines is similar to US, we’re very popular with Millenials 13-30. Our biggest stories turn into bestselling books, TV and film adaptations.”

“Our imprint Pop Fiction Books has been home to over a hundred books since 2013!” says Summit Media. “Our partnership with Wattpad has helped us get in touch with young writers making waves. In 2013, recommendations were mostly based on reads – with Wattpad partnership, they recommend stories. A number of published authors in our Pop Fiction Books imprint are from the Wattpad partnership.”

“In the Philippines, most stories on Wattpad are Taglish, a Mix of English, and Tagalog,” notes Ashleigh. Overall, “stories are available in over 50 languages. We share data and trends with Summit Media as our local partner in the Philippines.”
Is Pop Fiction Books primarily print or ebook? “Both! All books under the imprint are available via @Buqo app.” London Book Fair’s Twitter aptly notes, “Looks like the Philippines is developing its own distinct ebook ecosystem with @buqo. Interesting.”

It is interesting, considering that “over 90% of all Wattpad activity is mobile, with 50% of stories written on mobile devices also in PH.” It’s a very surprising factor of the publishing climate, especially on such a large scale. But the hope is that other countries can adapt and integrate Wattpad similarly. “We’d love to see the format of [the Philippines’] #WattpadPresents expand to other territories.”

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