The new face of entertainment:

How Gen Z is revolutionizing storytelling with Wattpad shares Devashish Sharma, Head of WATTPAD India

At Wattpad, there has been a massive influx in authors moving their work online since the start of the pandemic. From January through April, the number of new stories written on the platform grew by 151 percent. April also saw a 50 per cent increase in user sign-ups compared to March.

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Devashish Sharma, Head, Whattpad IndiaToday, Wattpad is a global entertainment company and the world’s leading social storytelling platform. Every month, our community of more than 90 million people discover and share stories from science fiction to romance and everything in between.

The impact of COVID-19

In March, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone globally to shelter in place, there was a noticeable surge in people consuming more content online.

From esports to an increase in streaming TV and film, and a big jump in online reading, it’s obvious that digital content platforms are more important than ever. When people couldn’t access physical books like they used to, many turned to reading online.

At Wattpad, we’ve seen a massive influx in authors moving their work online since the start of the pandemic. From January through April, the number of new stories written on the platform grew by 151 percent. April also saw a 50 per cent increase in user sign-ups compared to March. Whether it’s in search of an engaged community of fellow writers or to subvert the physical limitations of traditional publishing, more books are being shared online and the digital author community is growing rapidly.

Around the world, writers have been creating new original stories on Wattpad that offer people a chance to escape. In April, The Kissing Booth author Beth Reekles started a quarantine romance called Lockdown on London Lane. The story quickly grew in popularity — it currently has more than 400,000 reads — and it will be published via Wattpad Books in 2021. Similarly, India’s horror master Neil D’Silva wrote the thrilling new story, What the Eyes Don’t See on Wattpad this summer.

Connecting with the Wattpad community in India

Wattpad has been available in India for years, but early in 2019 we announced a new partnership and strategic investment from Times Bridge to grow our presence in India.

India is an incredible country, with a rich history of storytelling and one of the most exciting film industries in the world. Combined with the size of the mobile device market and penetration, Wattpad is perfectly positioned to help Indians across the country bring their stories to the world. Recent analysis from McKinsey makes it clear how India has achieved a leadership status in mobile penetration: “Competitive offerings by telecommunications firms have turbocharged internet subscriptions and data consumption, which quadrupled in both 2017 and 2018 and helped bridge a digital divide; India’s lower-income states are growing faster than higher-income ones in internet infrastructure and subscriptions.”

Today, Wattpad has nearly 3 million users in India, and we’re growing every day. The community is also deeply engaged: users spend an average of 37 minutes per day reading and engaging with stories on Wattpad, and stories have been uploaded in more than 10 languages, including English and Hindi.

Although readers in India like all genres, the data tells us that science-fiction and romance are the most sought-after kinds of stories on Wattpad. Romance stories that deal with issues of forbidden love and arranged marriage are especially popular.

The future of Wattpad in India

Our vision is to continue growing and creating opportunities for writers in India. We want to bring Indian writers to the world, helping them grow a fanbase at home and abroad, and creating new opportunities for them to get paid.

Wattpad can bring a data-backed, audience-first approach to India’s media, entertainment, and publishing industries. We want to work with everyone in the entertainment and publishing industries to find new Indian voices for every medium.

Our vision is to entertain and connect the world through stories. By bringing that vision to India, Wattpad can elevate the country’s emerging writers to a global stage. It’s only a matter of time before the next global book, TV, or movie sensation starts on Wattpad from a writer right here in India.

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