We already knew that Wattpad, the Toronto-based social publishing platform, was big in the Philippines. But we didn’t quite grasp exactly how big until we learned of Wattpad Presents, a prime-time daily drama appearing on the Pacific nation’s Kapatid Network, produced by TV5.
The series premiered on September 22 this year, in a prime-time Monday through Friday slot. The mandate of the show is straightforward enough: to bring to life many of the characters and situations written by Wattpad’s Philippine user base.
Wattpad Presents was actually bumped to the more lucrative 9:30 time slot recently, immediately after The Amazing Race Philippines (TARP) due to overwhelming public demand. “We’ve been receiving valuable feedback from viewers saying that they are not able to watch the shows because they arrive home late. They usually get stuck in traffic and their daily commute eats up their time. These viewers want to watch these programs, but the shows are usually off the air by the time they get home. This is the reason why we decided to move TARP to later time slots at night,” said TV5 Chief Entertainment Content Officer Wilma V. Galvante.
With titles like “Poser”, “Almost a Cinderella Story” and “Mr. Popular Meets Miss Nobody”, the stories hew pretty closely to what has become an established genre on the Wattpad platform: adolescent romance.
The series presents what are popularly known as “kilig stories”, kilig being the Tagalog word for “butterflies in one’s stomach” in the presence of a secret crush or the overwhelming feeling of happiness experienced when one’s heart is just melting with desire.
With a user base today of 35 million readers, and over $165 million in venture capital funding, Wattpad has become a genuine success story of Canada’s start-up scene. Over five million of those readers are in the Philippines, who collectively spent over a billion minutes reading Wattpad stories last month.
Popular Philippine actors Alwyn Uytingco and Jennica Garcia are set to star in “DyepNi”, which promises to be “a bumpy but kilig” love story. The actors are a real-life couple, who recently revealed that they were married earlier this year in a secret ceremony. The series will be their screen debut as an on-screen couple, and so is pretty well guaranteed to be a ratings grabber.
“DyepNi” was written by a user called pajama_addict, and garnered almost two million views on Wattpad before being adapted for television.