In what is being billed as an Australian first, Screen Queensland has teamed with online reading hub Wattpad to take up to three projects from book to screen using artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine what audiences want.
The Toronto-based Wattpad, via which authors publish stories in serial form, claims to have around 80 million unique users a month, 90 per cent of them in the 16-35 age bracket and around 70 per cent female. Launched in 2007, it now hosts around 500 million “uploads” from around 4 million authors, with its audience distributed equally among North America, Latin America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
The likes of Margaret Attwood, Amy Poehler and Dan Brown appear on the platform, but the vast majority of authors are previously unpublished. Perhaps the most significant element of the platform, though, is the reader interaction.
“It isn’t a one-way conversation where someone posts a novel-length piece and that’s the end of it,” says CEO Aron Levitz. “It really is a serialised form of entertainment where our biggest and best authors are posting week by week, the audience is engaging with them, asking questions, and arguing with each other right down to the paragraph level.”