David Madden has been a senior content executive in TV and film for top Hollywood outlets, from Fox Television Studios to AMC Networks, Fox Broadcasting Corporation, Paramount to Greg Berlanti Productions, and is a successful independent producer. But Wattpad has never had such a pool of material to choose from in the months since he joined Webtone Studios as global head of entertainment.
On the latest episode Difference In the Strictly Business podcast, Madden discusses his newfound mission to use data analysis, a little math, and a lot of instinct to develop traditional TV and film projects from the millions of stories presented by the two giants (on both) in comic or graphic novel form. (over 90 million users strong) digital platforms powered by Wattpad Webtoon.
Out of the thousands of user-generated stories uploaded daily, Madden’s Los Angeles content development team is notified when one begins to attract a critical mass of users.
“When it hits a certain threshold, it reads 100,000 for us, and then it comes on the radar,” Madden says. “And it goes to a very large group of book scouts in Toronto that we call the content group. And they review anything that gets to that stage, and then anything that they think might be a movie, maybe a TV show, they send it to me and our teams, we have a film team, we have a TV team, and we have an animation team,” he said.
Currently, Madden says, he’s checking out about 30 things a month. “We pick things that we think we can actually sell—things that seem to fit the television and film market.”
Madden details the company’s growing efforts to grow by experimenting with independent films and sequels.
Interestingly, Wattpad Webtoon does not have any exclusive hold on any stories to use platforms. Every time Madin’s small team meets with an author to “make a deal,” it’s a bare-bones negotiation. “So far, every time we’ve met a Wattpad author, we’ve come to a consensus that they love the platform. They were very happy to be there.”
So is Madden, who worked as a film executive for Paramount and 20th Century Fox early in his career and spent years as an independent producer. But with his new charter at Wattpad Webtone Studios, “I feel like I’m working for a 21st-century company,” Madden says. “This company feels like it has all the potential. It’s all upside down.”