Snapchat to debut first scripted original shows this year
Staff Reporter | On 24, Aug 2017Reading time: 6 mins
Snapchat will debut its first scripted original series this year.
The mobile messaging service has made its name as one of the more creative apps out there, thanks to its use of mobile devices’ in-built cameras, animated filters and strings of posts called “Stories” – features that have all been adopted, adapted or imitated by rivals, such as Facebook’s Messenger and Instagram platforms.
While Snapchat has struggled with user growth and monetisation, though, the app is turning to that popular weapon in the online battle for eyeballs – original content.
Snapchat has already dipped its toes into the TV waters, with partnerships with a number of broadcasters and publishers, such as NBC and ESPN producing short-form shows. E! News regularly publishes an entertainment news roundup show called “The Roundup”, another series earlier this year called Phone Swap saw participants exchange mobiles, while Snap has already renewed A&E’s romantic reality show, Second Chance, which reunites former couples to see if they can find love the second time around. That fittingly, will return for a second run.
By the end of 2017, though, Snapchat will have its own scripted series to join existing non-scripted originals. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, the company’s VP for Content, Nick Bell, said that the scripted arena is “an interesting next juncture for us”.
“Scripted is expensive, and we want to make sure that we understand that as much as we can before we jump into that world with two feet,” he explained, noting that they “expect to see some scripted stuff before the end of this year.”
What kind of shows will Snapchat try?
“I love the idea of doing a daily soap like Coronation Street … or a sitcom like Friends or an animation like Simpsons,” he said, although the focus will be on short-form shows over traditional formats.
Indeed, Bell was clear on his view that mobile will not replace TV as we know it.
“Snapchat is creating a new mobile language,” he added. “We like to work with networks. We actually think this idea of ‘network’ is going to live on.”
Indeed, Snapchat has also teamed up with ABC for a spin-off series of shorts relating to The Bachelor.
“Mobile is not a TV killer,” added Bell, describing mobile as complentary to television.
“There is no better place to watch a great show than on the glowing box on the wall,” he continued.
“We want to be friends of media… joining the dots [between TV and mobile]… Snapchat shows drive tune in to TV,” he said, highlighting that shows such as The Bachelor get audience boosts of around 15 per cent from related Snapchat content.
His comments arrive as Facebook continues to step up its own rollout of original series, having launched its new Watch tab on its mobile apps, and as Apple also prepares to spend big to make its own content.
Snapchat signs $100m original content deal with Time Warner
8th July 2017
Snapchat has signed a whopping $100 million deal with Time Warner to create original content for its growing video arm.
The app has wasted no time in entering the original content arena, with two series – Second Chance and Phone Swap – already being released on Snapchat earlier this year, following a deal with A+E. Snap has also inked an agreement with NBC for content related to the 2018 Olympic Games, while other partnerships have been agreed with ABC and Vice.
It is only speeding up its video production, though, with a new deal with Time Warner signed this summer. The $100 million deal will span two years and the media giant produce a range of original, exclusive shows, including dramas and comedies.
“As a company that has driven the evolution of media, this is an exciting and natural move as we bring together some of our leading video properties and brands with Snapchat’s dynamic platform,” said Gary Ginsberg, Time Warner executive vp corporate marketing and communications, in a statement. “Partnering with Snap will help drive this compelling new format, exposing its user base to innovative and engaging video from brands and characters they trust and enjoy. We’re confident this partnership will help drive larger audiences to our shows and to the new direct-to-consumer platforms we continue to roll out.”
The company has also agreed to advertise HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. to Snapchat users throughout the 24 months.
“Time Warner and their brands have long been pioneers of what incredible, premium content looks like, and we’re thrilled that innovators across their expansive network will begin producing shows for Snapchat,” Snap content chief Nick Bell commented. “This partnership is another exciting step as we continue to branch out into new genres, including scripted dramas, comedies, daily news shows, documentaries and beyond.”
The deal is the biggest yet for Snap Inc., not only giving the platform a seal of approval with major clout, but also giving it access to all of Time Warner’s networks and properties: Warner, as the parent company of CNN, HBO, TNT and Warner Bros., will be able to produce content for Snapchat that could potentially include Warner’s DC properties, such as Wonder Woman and Batman, which would give Snap a major edge over YouTube and Facebook. Snapchat has currently been producing one original show per day on the platform, – usually short-form, around 3 minutes in length – but aims to increase that to three per day by the end o 2017. Judging by the Time Warner deal, that target will soon be reached.
Snapchat signs Olympic deal with NBC
NBC Olympics and Snap Inc. will partner to bring unique Olympic Winter Games coverage from PyeongChang, South Korea, to Snapchatters in the United States next February, including NBC Olympic coverage via daily “Our Stories” and “Publisher Stories” available in Snapchat Discover. NBC Olympics will work with BuzzFeed to co-produce the Publisher Stories.
Today’s announcement follows last year’s successful partnership around the 2016 Rio Olympics, which included daily Our Stories and an NBC Rio Publisher Story, the latter also co-produced with BuzzFeed. Nearly 35 million Snapchatters in the U.S. consumed NBC’s Rio Olympic coverage on Snapchat, totalling over 230 million minutes of consumed content. The vast majority of the consumption was from Snapchatters under age 35.
“Snapchat is an incredibly dynamic platform, offering unique coverage opportunities that allowed us to extend the broad reach of the Olympics during the Rio Games, especially engaging young fans,” says Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “With Snapchat’s continually evolving platform, and with the expertise our partners at BuzzFeed have of creating relatable, sharable content, we are looking forward to bringing the depth and quality of this coverage to the next level for our audience and advertisers at the 2018 Winter Olympics.”
“We’re excited to once again work with NBC to create a unique Olympic experience on Snapchat and help build the next generation of fans through immersive, mobile first content,” adds Ben Schwerin, VP Partnerships at Snap Inc. “Advertisers will also be offered adjacency to premium video content and creative tools that bring them into our community’s conversations.”
The Opening Ceremony of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games takes place on Friday 9th February.