Wattpad is on the move to expand its presence in yet another market outside of North America.
The Toronto-based entertainment platform has announced a new partnership with Times Bridge, an investment firm based in India that works to bring international companies and ideas to the country. Though Wattpad has expanded its presence in several countries over the past years (such as Korea and Indonesia), this announcement is a bit different as Times Bridge is making a direct investment in Wattpad. The total amount has not been disclosed. Times Bridge has made deals like this in the past with Uber, Airbnb, and other large tech companies.
“We’re thrilled to work with Times Bridge expand our footprint in the region and create more opportunities for India’s rich literary community to tell their stories, reaching new audiences in India and around the world,” said Allen Lau, CEO and co-founder of Wattpad.
Times Bridge will provide operational support and boots on the ground, providing Wattpad with the best opportunity to access India’s massive population of 1.3 billion citizens. Wattpad currently has 2.6 million India users, which represents double of what it was since 2016, but only 0.2 per cent of the country’s total population. Times Bridge will work to facilitate content partnerships, leverage their own media assets, and expand the Wattpad brand in India.
As this is an investment, both Times Bridge and Wattpad are committed to seeing the latter’s success in India take off. Wattpad has confirmed that even though this is not a strict entertainment deal, due to Times Bridge’s status as the largest media company in India, the Toronto company has expressed interest in working and developing TV shows, films, and books. However, that does not limit Wattpad to only working with Times Bridge.
Wattpad’s Indian users have contributed more than four million stories to the platform, so there is a large base of content to work with. India is set to become one of the top ten global markets for OTT in the next year, so it will be a focal point for not only Wattpad, but other content partners of theirs, such as Netflix, NBC, Sony, and more.
Devashish Sharma will lead Wattpad’s endeavors in India as the company’s first country manager for the region.
“Millions of Indian readers and writers have already found a home Wattpad,” said Sharma. “Times Bridge and The Times Group have an unmatched media and entertainment portfolio, and connections with some of India’s most respected authors and cultural figures. We’re excited to work together to create new opportunities for Indian storytellers.”