As Snapchat struggles to stay relevant in today’s growing social media landscape, its parent company, Snap Inc., made large strides forward in their latest venture—Snap TV. That’s right, the social media platform is looking to create it’s own TV like content to distribute on Snapchat, and it’s going well.
According to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, Snap Inc. has signed deals with NBC Universal, Turner, Discovery, BBC, ABC, A&E, ESPN, Vice Media and the NFL to produce original content for Snap TV. The same article reports that they are also close to signing similar deals with Fox, CBS and Scripps Networks Interactive (owners of Food Network).
The original shows will exist within the “stories” section of the Snapchat app. The company has said that they plan on releasing two to three episodes of original programming a day by the end of 2017. In true Snapchat form, these “TV episodes” will not be what most people traditionally think of as television. They will be adapted to fit the shorter attention span and fast-paced nature of Snapchat, meaning that each episode will be about three to five minutes long.
At last count, Snapchat reported 158 million active users—that’s a lot of people to keep happy. The company is betting that original content will keep their user base happy, and (hopefully) growing. Obviously, ad revenue is another big part of this venture. If these original snap shows prove popular, Snapchat will be able to significantly grow their ad revenue; which is essential if they want to live up to their recent $25 billion valuation.
Snap Inc. has found that most media companies are excited to work with them, unlike the media issues that have recently surrounded Facebook and YouTube. A big reason for this is that these Snapchat shows are significantly cheaper to produce than a standard TV show.
Snapchat has also made it clear that they don’t want to be a TV killer, they want to help foster and grow interest in various TV shows through exposure on their platform. This makes for a juicy offer for most media companies, and it better because Snapchat will not be paying for any of these shows up front. They are only offering a portion of ad revenue as compensation for any media companies efforts. Time will tell if this is a sustainable strategy, but for now it seems to be working.
Snapchat has a large valuation to live up to and investing in original content is a smart way to live up to that. Will it be enough? We’ll have to wait and see.