×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

BuzzFeed’s First Snapchat Show: ‘BTW’ Serves Up Celeb, Entertainment Daily Dish (EXCLUSIVE)

Snap keeps building toward its vision of Snapchat becoming the TV habit for the mobile generation.

The company is launching “BTW,” BuzzFeed’s first original show for Snapchat, promising snack-size celebrity and entertainment news dispatches every weekday afternoon. The show premieres July 8 and will run Monday-Friday, with episodes 3-5 minutes in length going live every day at 3 p.m. ET. The show, culling from stories produced across BuzzFeed, is hosted by BuzzFeed’s Shanice Bland, Patrice Peck and David Mack (pictured above).

Snapchat now has more than 80 original shows, and it has found that the daily format has performed particularly well, said Sean Mills, Snap’s head of original content and senior director of content programming. For example, NBC’s “Stay Tuned” news program for Snapchat pulls in an average of 30 million viewers each month, with one-third of them tuning in at least five days a week, according to Mills. For ESPN’s “SportsCenter” show on Snapchat, 60% of the audience watches at least three days per week.

“It looks like the way people watch television, as opposed to a viral hit in the app,” said Mills.
“We’ve been able to see that [Snapchat users who watch daily shows] are not casual viewers,. They’re fans. They subscribe and come back to watch it.”

Into that mix comes BuzzFeed’s “BTW,” a hosted show with quick hits about celebrities and social trends. It’s going up at 3 p.m. ET each day, based on BuzzFeed’s analysis showing that was the strongest time of day for consumption of entertainment-news fare.

The series is created and produced by BuzzFeed Studios, headed by Cindy Vanegas-Gesuale, whose role at the company recently expanded to oversee all video programming. “BTW” will lean into “stories that are of the culture,” she said. “We think platform-first to make sure we’re speaking to how the audience consumes content.”

Snapchat’s audience tends to be younger than other platforms: According to BuzzFeed, its audience on Snapchat skews under 24 and female. (Snap claims the Snapchat app is used by 90% of all U.S. consumers 13-24 and 75% of all 13- to 34-year-olds.) By contrast, BuzzFeed’s “AM to DM” daily show for Twitter caters to an older crowd that is more interested in hard news.

As with other Snapchat Shows, Snap will share a cut of ad revenue from “BTW” with BuzzFeed. Snapchat Shows  include ads of to 6 seconds that are unskippable. At launch, Snapchat users watching “BTW” can swipe up and get to the Show’s profile page where they can see past episodes, subscribe and turn on notifications for when a new episode airs.

BuzzFeed has committed to at least a six-month run, Venegas-Gesuale said. Mills said “BTW” will stay on Snapchat for as long as both companies “mutually find it successful.” It’s the BuzzFeed show for Snap but the company has been a partner for Snapchat’s Discover media section since 2015.

Regarding the midsummer launch for BuzzFeed’s “BTW,” Mills said Snap doesn’t really see seasonality in viewing patterns the way the television biz historically has. “When they go on vacation, people bring their phones,” he said.

The three rotating “BTW” hosts are Shanice Bland, production coordinator for BuzzFeed News projects, including “Profile” on Facebook Watch and “AM to DM” and “Hella Opinions” on Twitter; Patrice Peck, a culture writer and commentator at BuzzFeed who specializes in diversity and intersectional representation in Hollywood and pop culture; and David Mack, a deputy director of breaking news for BuzzFeed News focusing on entertainment and politics.

Shows on Snapchat are vertical full-screen, and are edited to be fast-paced and hyper-visual, featuring graphics, split screens, and quick cuts. The company says over the past year, time spent watching Snapchat Shows every day more than tripled (but it didn’t detail actual numbers).

Snap isn’t alone in targeting mobile video. Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi, for one, is a billion-dollar-plus bet that there’s demand for a premium smartphone entertainment service (positioned as a mobile-focused HBO or Netflix). In that context, Snapchat’s aim is to be like the free, ad-supported broadcast network for those whose mobile phones are the first screen.

Snapchat users can access “BTW” at this link, which includes this Snapcode:

Pictured above (l. to r.): BuzzFeed’s “BTW” hosts Shanice Bland, Patrice Peck and David Mack

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Urges Gavin Newsom to Sign Law Punishing 'Deep Fake' Videos

    SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White is urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign legislation that institutes penalties for nonconsensual digital sexually explicit videos, also known as “deep fakes.” The legislation, Assembly Bill 602, targets companies and individuals who create and distribute the videos in California without the consent of the individual being depicted. “We urge Gov. [...]

  • Facebook Portal logo

    Facebook Is Launching a Portal TV Device: Here’s What We Know

    Facebook is getting ready to launch a TV streaming device in time for the holiday season, Variety has been able to confirm with multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. The new streaming hardware will be part of the company’s Portal family of devices, featuring a camera, and combining video chatting with TV viewing and [...]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Shuts Down, With Parent Company Citing Failure to Raise Funds

    MoviePass, the long-struggling theater subscription service, finally appears to be down for the count. On Friday, MoviePass notified remaining subscribers that it would be shutting down the service effective Sept. 14, 2019, because “its efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date,” parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics announced. “The company is continuing [...]

  • Disney Plus - Full Lineup

    How to Browse the Disney Plus Catalog the Company Is Testing in the Netherlands

    Disney began testing its Disney Plus streaming service in the Netherlands this week. Consumers in the U.S. will have to wait until November 12 to get access to the service, but European streaming aggregator JustWatch already makes it possible to browse the catalog available during this beta test. JustWatch is one of a number of [...]

  • JoJo Siwa'The Angry Birds Movie 2'

    Nickelodeon Star JoJo Siwa Gets Her Own Dance-Tour Mobile Game (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fans of JoJo Siwa will be able to join the teen influencer’s dance squad on stage — virtually — in a new mobile game. In “JoJo Siwa — Live to Dance,” players will become part of the Nickelodon and YouTube star’s worldwide tour on her professional dance team and experience what it’s like to be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content