future!publish: Interview mit Ashleigh Gardner, Wattpad (Kanada)
Interview mit Ashleigh Gardner von Wattpad aus Kanada, Partnerland der Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018
Ashleigh Gardner, Head of Partnerships von Wattpad Studios, eröffnete den Buchbranchenkongress future!publish 2018. Für die BücherFrauen hat Yvonne de Andrés die Gelegenheit genutzt, Ashleigh Gardner zu treffen und ihr ein paar Fragen zu stellen.
BücherFrauen: What matters in your life?
Ashleigh Gardner: Helping authors achieve their dreams of building an audience and getting published is one of the most rewarding parts of my job as Head of Partnerships at Wattpad Studios. I’ve spent my entire career in publishing, but working at Wattpad allows me to truly be part of the future of publishing. We’re transforming entire industries – such as publishing and entertainment – with data-driven decision-making. It’s thrilling to be part of a major shift in how writers create for, and connect with, audiences.
BücherFrauen: You are the Head of Partnerships at Wattpad Studios. What have you achieved since taking office?
Ashleigh Gardner: My biggest accomplishment at Wattpad is working with authors all over the world to turn their stories into books, TV shows, movies, and digital projects. We’re helping people find their voices as storytellers, build a global audience of readers, and in many cases, become published authors! We have partnerships with major publishers like HarperCollins, Hachette Audiobooks and Hachette Romans, who we’re helping find breakout YA writers on Wattpad. Our team also works with leading TV and film producers like NBCU, eOne and CW Seed.
Media is in an ongoing period of transition and how people find and experience stories is evolving. The publishing industry is going through a similar shift, looking to new partners, technology and voices for the next big hit. At Wattpad, we have all of these elements, and we work with some of the biggest names in the publishing and entertainment to turn Wattpad stories into books and co-produce Wattpad stories for TV, film and digital.
BücherFrauen: How do you describe Wattpad?
Ashleigh Gardner: Wattpad’s vision is to entertain and connect the world through stories. We are a global multiplatform entertainment company that uses the power of community and technology to enable the creation and distribution of content across a variety of formats. Our flagship app, Wattpad, is home to a community of more than 65 million people who spend over 15 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories. Tap by Wattpad, our second storytelling product, offers short, chat-based stories in over a dozen languages. Wattpad Studios co-produces stories for film, television, digital and print, together with industry partners. Wattpad Brand Solutions offers a full suite of advertising products to help brands build deep engagement with Millennial and Gen Z consumers. We are proudly based in Toronto, Canada.
BücherFrauen: What are the major challenges Wattpad Studios is facing?
Ashleigh Gardner: Our company vision is to entertain and connect the world through stories, and this is no small feat! People have shared more than 400 million stories on Wattpad – that’s more than 24 hours of reading material is posted to Wattpad every minute. With this volume of content, getting the right stories in front of the right user is a major undertaking as we continue to improve personalization on Wattpad. To do this better, we’ve invested in Machine Learning technology and the results are paying off! Our earliest experiments in Machine Learning have led to an increase in new user reading time by 82%. This means more people are more engaged and finding more stories they connect with on Wattpad.
BücherFrauen: Who are your readers?
Ashleigh Gardner: Wattpad is for everyone! With more than 60 million monthly users and over 2.5 million monthly writers who have published more than 400 million story uploads, we reach people all over the planet with unique content that can’t be found anywhere else. Stories on Wattpad span every genre imaginable, reflecting the creativity, imagination and passion of the global community of Wattpadders.
Wattpad stories are available in more than 50 languages. Our demographics are more than 70% female, and 80% of Wattpad users are Millennials or Gen Z.
BücherFrauen: Since when does Wattpad offer „Stories you’ll love“ in German?
Ashleigh Gardner: Wattpad is available in more than 50 languages, and has been available to German users for most of our 11 years as a company.
BücherFrauen: Who are your main partners on the German market?
Ashleigh Gardner: The German Wattpad community is made up of more than 1.2 million users who read more than 1 billion minutes each month. Readers and writers in Germany have fallen in love with the global Wattpad community, embracing the creativity and connection they find on Wattpad.
In the past year our the global Wattpad community grew by more than 40 per cent, and is now made up of more than 65 million people who have shared more than 400 million story uploads. Users in Germany are able to find stories in German and more than 50 other languages, connecting with people around the world. We see amazing potential in the German market and across the EU. We can’t wait to work with more publishers and entertainment partners to bring Wattpad stories to different formats for Germans.
Copyright Sabine Felber