Snap, NBCUniversal Launch JV to Produce Snapchat Shows

Snap Inc., an American technology and social media company, and NBCUniversal, a New York-based media company, are teaming up to produce scripted shows and other genres to air on Snapchat, as the tech company struggles to attract new users to its service, according to a report.

Snap and NBCU Partnership

The new Snap Show’s platform, which is equally owned by the two companies, signed independent filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass as its first creative partner. The two will develop scripted programming for Snapchat through Donut, their own creative production venture which is based in Los Angeles. Mark and Jay Duplass are best known for HBO’s “Togetherness” and “Room 104.”

NBCUniversal, which invested $500 million in Snap prior to its March 2017 IPO, will be assisting the social media network in the creation of original scripted programming, a move that will capitalize on their mobile audience.

Snap Inc., the parent company of messaging and video application Snapchat, and NBCU have been partners in the past. They have already produced at least three shows for Snapchat in an effort to reach more viewers as mobile audiences continue to grow, including a daily news show called “Stay Tuned” and an entertainment show from  E! network called “The Rundown.”

It remains unclear the number of series the studio will produce, but Mark Duplass said they have about six different TV show ideas across genres. The first series is set to launch in 2018, with 8-10 minutes per episode.

The content will be shot and presented in a vertical video format which Mark Duplass described as “terrifying and thrilling creative challenge” in an emailed statement.

Snap’s head of content, Sean Mills, said in a statement, “We fundamentally believe that mobile is a new medium.” The two companies believe that entertainment mobile platforms need to be produced differently than for traditional venues.

“Because that creative process is so unique, we felt there was a need for a fully dedicated entity focused on that,” Mills added.

Lauren Anderson, NBC Entertainment’s senior VP of current programming, will be the chief content officer for the studio, working with Mills and Maggie Suniewick, the president of NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises.

The two companies did not disclose the financial details regarding the matter.

NBCUniversal said that the reason it chose to move forward with the deal because of the engagement of Snapchat’s existing audience with 173 million active users.

According to a report, it is an astute decision that Snap go to this direction, despite tight competition from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others in increasingly crowded digital video space. What makes this deal unique, however, is that Snap is taking advantage of its influential young millennial and Gen Z audience, which marketer and advertisers have been insisting to reach since Snapchat launched in 2011.

In August, Snap said the “Stay Tuned” news show drew more than 29 million unique total viewers since its launch in July, and that more than 40 percent of viewers watched the show at least three days a week, showing potential for publishers to reach younger audiences on Snapchat.

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