New Readers & #KathNiel: Wattpad Presents in The Philippines

A selection of #KathNiel stories on #KathNiel fans are part of the story of Wattpad's phenomenal popularity in The Philippines
A selection of #KathNiel stories on

#KathNiel is the most-searched term on Wattpad in The Philippines.

There, Wattpad is known as much more than a huge online reading and writing community. Its arm called Wattpad Presents generates content for film and television productions.

Announced in September 2014, the partnership sees TV5 Manila dramatize popular stories from the Toronto-based Wattpad site. The program is heavily geared to the romance and fan-fiction interests of the millennial demographic that seems to “get” Wattpad most easily. Young love and pink-hued comedy are the stuff of such titles as  Cupid’s Fools, Fake Fiancé, Casanova’s Love Game, and A Rose Between Two Thorns.

This unusual liaison between media may suggest a valuable model for more traditional publishing companies to explore in the search for new readers. But the mechanism of Wattpad Presents requires an element of blur: there’s a blending of TV-film audiences and readers here that goes beyond simple movie tie-ins. Many of the most ardent fans of the programming on screen are also devoted readers and/or writers of Wattpad’s stories-in-process online. The partnership embraces a through-bonding effect between fans, writers, and—eventually—extending to the actors who play the stories’ good-looking characters in the shows.

The number of Wattpad users in The Philippines in 2007 stood at 80. Today, there are more than five million “Wattpadders” there.

Allen Lau’s Wattpad is doing something right in Manila.

Ashleigh Gardner, Wattpad content director, spoke with us this week as part of London Book Fair’s #Quantum16 Virtual Conference. Dubbed “Around the World in 8 Hours,” the online event gave me a chance to lead a live Twitter chat with Gardner as my guest. Our focus was on the Wattpad Presents development.

Wattpad itself, founded in 2006 by Lau and Ivan Yuen, is one of the most extraordinary success stories in the same digital-era neighborhood as Medium and Tumblr. To this day, however, it defies many traditionalists’ efforts to understand it.

Ashleigh Gardner #KathNiel fans are part of the story of Wattpad's phenomenal popularity in The Philippines
Ashleigh Gardner

One of the most articulate spokespeople working in the digital field, Gardner ticked off with her usual efficiency the latest mind-blowing metrics on Wattpad:

  • More than 40 million people use Wattpad, roughly the size of the Argentinian population.
  • More than 200 million uploads have gone onto the site so far.
  • A stunning 13 billion minutes are being spent on Wattpad monthly.
  • Thirty minutes is the average session per user, a high “stickiness” factor in the online world.
  • More than 90 percent of Wattpad’s activity is on mobile.
  • Some 50 percent of Wattpad content is written on mobile devices.
  • Wattpad gets a new member every second of every day.

Wattpad is peer-to-peer reading and writing. The readers there, Gardner says, vastly outnumber the writers. The writers normally produce installments of long-running serials. The readers respond eagerly to twists and turns in the stories they’re following.

What you also see in The Philippines, however, is a sky-high level of devotion to the actors who populate Wattpad stories. They seem to be as integral to these users experience of the platform as its writers are. And sure enough, more than 12 hours after we’d concluded our live Twitter chat on Wednesday, tweets and retweets still were soaring: “Thanks for greeting the #KathNiel World!”

Kathryn Bernardoimages #KathNiel fans are part of the story of Wattpad's phenomenal popularity in The Philippines and Daniel Padilla are a “Brangelina” acting couple, a “loveteam.” These two actors have starred in several films, perhaps most notably She’s Dating the Gangster, based on a Wattpad book by Bianca Bernardino, who writes as SGwannaB.  In that blur or blend of media cultivated by the Wattpad Presents partnership, #KathNiel are Wattpad personalities to fans.

Fanfiction authors in particular—like One Direction siren Anna Todd—have been finding Big Five favor and even bigger readerships in Wattpad’s online writing community. Wattpad Presents takes that dynamic farther in The Philippines with its own film-and-TV connection.

And all is not TV or film: Summit Media’s imprint Pop Fiction Books produces print and digital editions of popular Wattpad stories spotted by the platform’s staff.

Read more

There’s more: Read the full story at Publishing Perspectives

By Porter Ander­son

Publishing Perspectives: Flirting With New Readers and #KathNiel in The Philippines: Wattpad Presents 

Originally published by Thought Catalog at


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