EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Television has acquired the rights to Katarina E. Tonks’s story series Death Is My BFF, which bowed via Wattpad, the Toronto-based storytelling app that combines crowdsourced content and other material.
Paul Shapiro, who brought the project to Sony, will executive produce under his All In Media banner, along with Wattpad’s Aron Levitz and Eric Lehrman.
Tonks’s Death Is My BFF series of stories have more than 92 million reads to date on Wattpad.
In Death Is My BFF, the irresistible and insatiably sarcastic Angel of Death is in for a rude awakening when he comes to claim Faith William’s soul and discovers that he’s met his match. Faith has five days to hold off signing her soul away, but demons, an arrogant playboy, and her own conflicted feelings for Death aren’t going to make it any easier.
Aron Levitz, head of Wattpad Studios, said the story “combines the best of romance and dark humor, and has connected with millions of fans globally.”
Katarina E. Tonks said she set out to create “a different kind of story, where the most feared villain in everybody’s life is personified as the sexy main love interest. I’ve been thrilled to watch readers around the world interact with the Death Is My BFF series, spending millions of minutes with my characters and commenting on every plot twist and sarcastic one-liners.”
Nearly 1000 Wattpad stories have been turned into books, TV shows, films, and digital media. Recent entertainment partnerships for Wattpad Studios include projects and deals with CW Seed, Universal Cable Productions, and eOne.
Earlier this year, a group of investors placed a big bet on Wattpad. BDC, Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, and Raine Group are among the latest backers, investing $51 million in Wattpad.
The money will be used to expand the available content into more formats and improve on the machine learning that matches it with consumers. To date, Wattpad has raised $117.8 million USD.
Wattpad has video, a paid subscription tier, and a community of 65 million users. To date, that community has uploaded more than 400 million times.
Other investors in Wattpad include China’s Tencent Holdings, Union Square Ventures, Khosla, AME Cloud Ventures, and August Capital.
Wattpad has had partnerships with Project Gutenberg, NBCUniversal’s Universal Cable Productinos, CW Seed, HarperCollins, Hachette Audio, Hachette Romans, and Lionsgate, among others.
Wattpad is repped by UTA. Jill L. Smith, partner at Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo, repped Katarina Tonks in the deal.