The company announced that it has reached multiyear deals with Disney, ESPN, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, the NBA and the NFL to expand content they deliver for Snapchat’s Discover platform. That includes continued production of existing original franchises such as ESPN’s “SportsCenter on Snapchat,” NBC News’ “Stay Tuned,” E! News’ “The Rundown” and MTV’s “Teen Code.”
The social media and messaging company also announced original shows with partners including actor-comedian and Laugh Out Loud founder/CEO Kevin Hart; writer-director Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight” and “Thirteen”); Emmy-nominated actor and producer Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”); and reality-TV pioneers Bunim/Murray Productions.
Snap made the announcements Thursday at its 2020 Snap Partner Summit, held as a livestreaming event rather than an in-person conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new slate of Snap Originals — set to premiere over the next year — includes unscripted series, character-driven docuseries, and scripted dramas and comedies. Some of them will use Snap’s augmented-reality technologies for immersive storytelling experiences.
Vanessa Guthrie, director of Snap Originals, said the company continues to experiment with new formats and genres. “We really have doubled down on talent and worlds we know our audience will respond to,” she said in an interview.
As far as investment, budgets for Snapchat Shows vary, Guthrie said. “Some will be $50,000 per episode, some less, some significantly more – the creative needs to justify it,” she said. “We’ve been flexible with it.”
Snap analyzes data of what kinds of content and themes are popular among Snapchat’s younger-skewing user base. But, Guthrie said, “There’s no algorithm for creativity.”
Also today, Snap introduced a dedicated product in the Snapchat app called Happening Now, a new destination for breaking news. The company has partnered with news organizations including the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Reuters, NBC News, ESPN, Group Nine Media’s NowThis, E! News, and BuzzFeed News. Happening Now will include publicly submitted Snaps from users, as well as personalized weather from Bitmoji in partnership with AccuWeather and horoscopes from Sanctuary.
To date in 2020, over 125 million people have watched news content on Snapchat, according to the company.
Snapchat’s “Happening Now” section
Unlike the Jeffrey Katzenberg-founded mobile-video startup Quibi, all Snapchat Originals are free to watch. Each episode averages 5 minutes in length. Snap sells six-second, non-skippable ads that run within the shows.
According to Snap, more than half of the Gen Z population in the United States watches its originals shows. As of the first quarter of 2020, on average 229 million people use the Snapchat app daily — reaching more people in the U.S. than Twitter and TikTok combined, according to CEO Evan Spiegel.
Overall, more than 60 Snapchat Shows reached monthly audiences of at least 10 million viewers in Q1 2020. That includes more than 35 million Snapchatters who have watched “Will From Home,” in which Will Smith shares his stay-at-home experience. Over 22 million Snapchatters have watched “Nikita Unfiltered.”
In addition, the company says more than 15 million viewers watched season 1 of scripted zombie drama “Dead of Night” and over 70% of viewers who completed the series did so within 48 hours of starting it. And over 12 million users watched “Mind Yourself,” which follows 10 young people and their journey with mental health.
Here’s a rundown of Snap’s new and returning originals slate:
- “Coach Kev” (Laugh Out Loud): Inspired by his own experiences, Kevin Hart will be your coach, best friend and mentor all rolled into one, as he shares daily doses of positivity and wisdom for anyone aspiring to live their best life.
- “Fake Up” (Mission Control Media): The top optical illusion make-up artists battle it out to transform their own faces into works of art you have to see to believe. Experience the artists’ work like never before as you try on and play with custom Lenses that bring the show’s illusions to life.
- “Move It” (Stellar Studios and Little Engine Productions): Bringing together the biggest dance influencers, chart-topping hits, and Snapchat’s AR camera platform, this first-of-its-kind immersive dance show will inspire and teach anyone how to move it.
- “Road Trippin’” (Bunim/Murray Productions): In this docuseries executive produced by Anthony Anderson, best friends and star creators Rickey Thompson and Denzel Dion head on a road trip across rural USA to get out of their comfort zone and share some crazy new adventures.
- “First Person” (Hashtag Our Stories): Stories told with Snapchat Spectacles through the eyes of young innovators creating positive change, as they fight to protect our planet.
- “Queen of Stylez” (Glass Entertainment Group): Capturing the attention of Hollywood’s biggest names and locking in the most coveted and demanding clients, no hairstylist slays quite like Tokyo Stylez.
- “Life By The Horns” (21st Street Creative): Follow Ezekiel Mitchell, a 22-year-old destined to be a cowboy, on his life or death journey to become the best bull rider in the world and the first African-American to win the title in over 35 years.
- “Frogtown” (Alcon Television Group): In this series directed by Catherine Hardwicke, a badass skater living in her car lands a second family when she falls in with an all-girl crew at the Frogtown skatepark in East Los Angeles.
- “Action Royale” (Portal A): In this coming-of-age thriller, a teenager starts an underground esports gambling ring to pay off his father’s debts, but he and his gaming phenom best friend soon find themselves in over their heads in a dangerous high-stakes world.
- “Total Badass Wrestling” (Comedy Bang! Bang! Productions): In this comedy, a naive but charismatic young wrestler becomes an overnight viral sensation, inspiring a washed-up pro wrestler to offer his mentorship and use the hot new kid as his ticket back into the spotlight.
- “Dead of Night” from Bazelevs in association with Hooked
- “Face Forward” from NBCU, featuring an all-new AR Lens experience that puts viewers in the episode for their own celebrity makeover
- “Nikita Unfiltered” by ITV America’s Sirens Media
- “Vs the World,” next installment of docuseries from Complex, telling the story of notorious MMA fighter Conor McGregor.