Snapchat Expands Emmy Awards Coverage Under Three-Year Deal (EXCLUSIVE)

Stephen Colbert Emmys host 2017
Paul Buck / Epa/REX/Shutterstock

Snapchat is hitting this year’s Emmy Awards red carpet and backstage with its trademark vanishing content in a much bigger way.

Snap, the social-media app’s parent company, has renewed its partnership with the Television Academy with a new three-year agreement. Under the pact, Snapchat will present curated “Stories” of snaps capturing personal and behind-the-scenes moments at the Emmys — including from this year’s host, Stephen Colbert.

Snapchat has covered the Emmys the past two years, but is expanding to present three separate “Our Stories” collections on Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17. In addition, the app will launch special Emmys-themed Geofilters and Lenses to let users put themselves into the awards-show limelight. As with all Snapchat Stories, the content will live on the app for 24 hours and then vanish into the ether.

It’s the next-best thing to actually attending the Emmys, argued Ben Schwerin, Snap’s VP of partnerships. “This is a new way to experience being there,” he said. “What percentage of people who watch awards shows will actually be there? It’s minuscule.”

The content for Snapchat’s Emmys coverage will be pulled from various sources, including from staffers on the ground and from talent that Snapchat works with, like Reese Witherspoon. But much of it will be spontaneously collected from celebs and other Emmys attendees sharing their own snaps on the service. During last year’s Emmys, Snapchat captured snaps Jimmy Kimmel, John Travolta, Amy Schumer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

The Emmys joins Snapchat’s roster of other awards shows for which it produces special coverage, including the Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes and MTV VMAs. Last year, Snapchat published 37 Our Stories covering awards shows, which in aggregate attracted some 88.5 million unique viewers. So far in 2017, Snapchat has nearly doubled its output, with 69 awards-show Our Stories.

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Part of Snap’s pitch to media partners like the Television Academy is that Snapchat reaches a much younger average audience than TV: More than 90% of the users who tune in to Snapchat’s awards shows coverage is under 35.

Schwerin makes the case that Snapchat executions like the Emmys “Our Stories” are a great mechanism for building awareness of the kudocast: “We think if Snapchatters see the content, they’ll be more likely to watch the show on TV.” For the Emmys coverage Snap isn’t working with CBS, which is broadcasting the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.

The Our Stories for the Emmys, which will be available worldwide to Snapchat users with an English-language setting, are:

  • “Stars on Set: Emmys Story”: Launching on Saturday, the Our Stories will feature exclusive snaps from Emmy-nominated celebs, including Witherspoon, and from the sets of nominated shows such as NBC’s “This Is Us” and “Saturday Night Live” and HBO’s “Veep.”
  • “Emmys: The Carpet”: Coverage will feature snaps from Erin Lim, host of E! News’ “The Rundown” on Snapchat and others.
  • “Emmys: The Show”: A curated selection of snaps from inside the theater, with moments viewers watching at home often don’t see during commercial breaks. Snapchat is collaborating with Extra TV backstage for real-time reactions from the winners.

“Compared to TV, this is unscripted and more spontaneous,” said Schwerin. “People have their guard down when they’re talking into a phone.”

Snap has four advertisers that will run in the 2017 Emmys “Our Stories”: Lyft, TracFone Wireless, Gap, and FX, which will be running ads promoting “Atlanta” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” and a general brand spot for shows coming to the network in 2018.

Separately, Snapchat was nominated for a 2017 Emmy for its companion show to NBC’s “The Voice,” in the Creative Arts Emmy Awards category of creative achievement in interactive media within an unscripted program. It lost out to “The Oscars: All Access” from ABC Digital Studio and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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