Snapchat Rolling Out Serialized, Scripted Shows

Snapchat said it is launching Snap Originals, with a slate of serialized shows, including its first scripted programs and docuseries.

The new shows are being produced by TV industry veterans including Bunim/Murray Productions, the Duplass Brothers DBP Donut, Brad Weston’s Makeready, Paramount TV and the NBC Digital Lab.

NBCUniversal has extended its content production commitments with Snapchat through 2019. Viacom has committed to creating 10 new Snap Originals. Viacom also committed to syndicating at least 500 episodes of its network’s shows to the Snapchat audience.

Snapchat calls itself a camera company but it has been making a transition from a platform employed by users to send pictures of themselves to one another to a source of ad-supported, professionally produced content for mobile devices.

Snapchat is particularly popular among teens, making it attractive to marketers looking to reach younger consumers.

It started by running brief Snapchat shows. Its first original, Good Luck America, was launched two year ago. Now it has 60 original series from high-profile partners including NBC, CBS, ESPN, Viacom, Discovery, A&E and sports leagues including the NBA and the NFL.

Related: NBCU Producing Weekly Premier League Snapchat Show

Some daily shows created for Snapchat have seen viewership growth. A twice daily news broadcast from NBC News, Stay Tuned, has seen its audience double to 5 million uniques per day from a year ago. A Snapchat version of ESPN’s SportsCenter draws 2.5 million viewers daily.

“Over the last two years, our highly engaged and loyal audience has helped to define what mobile content should look like - vertical, hyper-visual and paced in a way that draws you in quickly and makes you want to return,” said Nick Bell, Snap’s VP of content. “We’re proud to be working with some of the industry’s most talented storytellers to bring new and innovative Shows to our community and are thankful to be extending our partnerships with NBCUniversal and Viacom to create even more content for Snapchatters worldwide.”

Snapchat says that since the beginning of the year, the time viewers spent engaging with its shows has tripled.

Related: E! News Sets Second Season of Snapchat Show

Shows include full-screen, non-skip video ad slot commercials that are up to six seconds long. Sponsors can buy the ads via the self-serve Snapchat Ads Manager.

The new original shows represent a variety of genres including drama, mystery, horror and comedy. Serialized shows will have new episodes daily, which the company is counting on to create habit that results in increased viewing.

  • Endless Summer - (Bunim/Murray Productions) - Influencers Summer McKeen and Dylan Jordan try to balance love, friends, family, and fame in this intimate snapshot of their lives in Laguna Beach, California. Docuseries launches Oct. 10..
  • Class of Lies - (Makeready) - Best friends/college roommates Devon and Missy crack cold cases on their successful true-crime podcast…but can they solve the most important case of all when their best friend disappears without a trace? Scripted series launches Oct. 10.
  • Co-ed – (Duplass Brothers’ DBP Donut, Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts) - Juggling classes, parties, and down-the-hall crushes, freshman roommates Ginny and Chris try their best to face whatever college throws at them, discovering who they are along the way. Scripted series launches Oct. 10.
  • Vivian - (NBCU Digital Lab, The Intellectual Property Corporation in association with Wilhelmina) - Vivian is the youngest model scout at Wilhelmina, one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in the world. She takes us inside this exclusive world where she has the power to make wannabes’ dreams come true — but can she do that for her own? Docuseries launches Oct. 22.
  • The Dead Girls Detective Agency - (Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts, Insurrection and Keshet) - This darkly comedic supernatural soap follows Charlotte Feldman, a young woman who must work from beyond to figure out how and why she died, in order to avoid an eternity in purgatory. Based on the young adult novel by Susie Cox. Scripted series launches Oct. 22.
  • V/H/S - (Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts and Studio 71) - Video Horror Shorts is the next generation horror anthology series, bringing four new frightening experiences to the palm of your hand. Scripted series launches Oct. 28.

Six more series have been greenlit for production. There are three scripted series--Bref from Indigo Development, Entertainment Arts and Paramount TV; Deep Creek produced by Woodman Park Productions; and Vanlife from Indigo Development, Entertainment Arts and Above Average; and three docuseries: Bringing up Bhabie from Invent TV; Growing up is a Drag from Bunim/Murray Productions and PB&J TV + Docs and Hunt Brothers produced by Magilla Entertainment.

Snapchat has been working to make its shows easier to find and watch. Each Show now has a dedicated profile page where Snapchatters can easily find all available episodes and seasons to watch at once. Snapchat is also introducing a designated Shows carousel on the Discover page.

Snapchatters can press and hold on any show tile or swipe up within a show to get to the show profile page.

Snap has also created portal Lenses for several of its shows, enabling users to swipe up from an episode of the Show and literally walk into a scene and interact with the objects and characters to deepen their experience. It has also developed custom interactive Lenses, including reaction Lenses for some of the shows’ most riveting scenes that will enable and encourage Snapchatters to share the show experience with their friends.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.