Архив метки: Asia

Wattpad’s latest deal will turn its stories into TV shows and movies in Korea

Wattpad’s ambitions to grow beyond a storytelling community for young adults took another leap forward today with the announcement of a new partnership that will help expand its reach in Asia. The company has teamed up with Huayi Brothers in Korea, which will now be Wattpad’s exclusive entertainment partner in the region. The two companies will co-produce content sourced from Wattpad’s community as it’s adapted for film, TV and other digital media projects in the country.
Development deals like this are not new to Wattpad at this point.
In the U.S., the storytelling app made headlines for bringing to Netflix the teen hit “The Kissing Booth,” which shot up to become the No. 4 movie on IMDb for a time.
Wattpad also recently announced a second season for “Light as a Feather,” which it produces with AwesomenessTV and Grammnet for Hulu.
It additionally works with eOne, Sony, SYFY, Universal Cable Productions (a division of NBCUniversal) and Germany’s Bavaria Fiction.
Outside the U.S., Wattpad has 26 films in development with iflix in Indonesia.
And WattPad’s feature film “After,” based on Anna Todd’s novel, will arrive in theaters on April 12.
Key to these deals is Wattpad’s ability to source the best content from the 565 million stories on its platform. Do to so, it uses something it calls its “Story DNA Machine Learning technology,” which helps to deconstruct stories by analyzing things like sentence structure, word use, grammar and more in order to help identify the next big hits using more than just readership numbers alone.
The stories it identifies as promising are then sent over to content specialists (aka human editors) for further review.
This same combination of tech and human curation has been used in the past to help source its writing award winners and is now being used to find the next stories to be turned into novels for its new U.S. publishing arm, Wattpad Books.
In addition to its hit-finding technology, studios working with Wattpad also have a way to reach younger users who today are often out of touch with traditional media, as much of youth culture has shifted online.
These days, teens and young adults are more likely to know YouTube stars than Hollywood actors. They’re consuming content online in communities like Reddit, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and elsewhere. And when it comes to reading, they’re doing more of that online, too — whether that’s through chat fiction apps like Hooked or by reading Wattpad’s longer stories.
Wattpad says it now has 70 million users worldwide, who now spend 22 billion combined minutes per month engaged with its website and app.
With the Korean deal, Wattpad is further growing its international footprint after several other moves focused on its international expansions.
For example, today’s news follows Wattpad’s raise of $51 million in funding from Tencent; its appointment of its first Head of Asia for Wattpad Studios, Dexter Ong, last year; and its hiring of its first GM of India, Devashish Sharma, who is working with local partners to turn its stories into movies, TV, digital and print in the region.
Huayi Brothers Korea hasn’t announced any specific projects from the Wattpad deal at this point, but those will follow.
“Wattpad’s model is the future of entertainment, using technology to find great storytellers and bring them to an international audience,” said, Jay Ji, CEO, Huayi Brothers Korea, in a statement. “In an era of entertainment abundance, working with Wattpad means access to the most important things in the industry: a data-backed approach to development, and powerful, proven stories that audiences have already fall in love with,” he said.

Wattpad’s latest deal will turn its stories into TV shows and movies in Korea

Crypto wallet BRD raises $15M for Asian expansion

Mobile cryptocurrency wallet BRD is announcing that it has raised $15 million in Series B funding.
The funding comes from SBI Crypto Investment, a subsidiary of Japanese financial services company SBI Holdings (formerly a subsidiary of SoftBank). BRD said the funding will allow it to grow its product and engineering teams, and to expand in Japan and across Asia.
“SBI Group’s investment in BRD allows us to firmly cement ourselves in the Asian market,” said BRD co-founder and CEO Adam Traidman in a statement. “It shows incredible support for the foundation that we have built in North America and reinforces our proven ability to scale the success we have achieved in the past 4 years. The new investment will ensure our long-term global growth, and we are incredibly excited about collaborating with SBI as a strategic investor and business partner to make that happen.”
It’s surprising to see a crypto startup raising money now, given the broader crypto downturn. After all, BRD bills itself as the simplest way to start buying and storing cryptocurrencies — but does that mean anything if consumers are being scared away from investing?

When I asked Spencer Chen, the company’s vice president of global marketing (and an occasional friend of mine), about the industry’s recent challenges, he argued, “The need for a single, global currency still exists.”
“That’s what all got lost in 2018 as the fast-money, traders, and speculators came piling into the crypto space,” Chen told me via email. “It really convoluted the core mission of a natively digital currency. Money that worked just like the open internet. As a company that’s built-to-last and committed to the core mission of crypto currency, there was nothing more frustrating than to witness the many steps backwards the industry at large took in 2018.”
In fact, BRD says it doubled its total install base in 2018, ending the year with 1.8 million users globally. It also says it’s currently being used to store the equivalent of $6 billion mostly in Bitcoin and Ethereum — with a 24 percent increase in monthly active users between November and December, after it started accepting stablecoins (which are pegged to the value of a fiat currency).
BRD has now raised a total of $55 million. It’s also announcing a partnership with Coinify, allowing users to make cryptocurrency purchases using bank accounts in the European market.

Crypto wallet BRD raises $15M for Asian expansion

Google debuts Tez, a mobile payments app for India

 After several weeks of speculation and leaked details, today Google officially unveiled its first big foray into mobile payments in Asia. The Android and search giant has launched Tez, a new mobile wallet in India that will let users link up their phones to their bank accounts to pay for goods securely in physical stores and online, and for person-to-person money transfers. “Send money… Read More

Google debuts Tez, a mobile payments app for India

Blackstorm Labs and Rakuten launch R Games to build high-fidelity HTML5 games

 Blackstorm Labs, a startup that’s working to build technology that brings developers tools to get out games and apps more quickly through HTML5, today said it is working with Rakuten to build a new entity called R Games that will serve as a hub for games in Japan and Asia. Blackstorm Labs has been working with Rakuten for some time on the project, which was rumored last November, but it… Read More

Blackstorm Labs and Rakuten launch R Games to build high-fidelity HTML5 games