Snap Inc. is working with media companies to bolster Snapchat's original content with mini, TV-like episodes. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Snap Inc. has signed deals with NBC Universal, Turner, Discovery, ESPN, Vice Media, and the NFL to produce original shows for Snap TV. The company is expected to announce new deals today with Scripps Networks Interactive, owner of Food Network, which will also create original shows for the social media outlet.
The report in The Wall Street Journal explains that Snap TV will exist in the Stories section of Snapchat, which already displays collections of photos and videos shot recently by friends and media companies. Snapchat plans to have two to three episodes of original programming, all about three to five minutes long, airing each day by the end of 2017.
Snapchat has reportedly taken a very hands-on approach with its current media partners, providing companies like NBC Universal guidance and notes on how to make engaging content for Snapchat. Rather than promo videos, Snapchat wants true original content on Snap TV, including scripted dramas, daily news shows, animated series, and more. NBC Universal's first show was a Snapchat version of The Voice in which users could send in 10-second audition clips. The winner of the Snapchat competition show made an appearance on the live TV version of The Voice.
Striking original content deals with traditional media companies bolsters Snapchat's exclusive content, which may encourage users to spend even more time in the app than they already do. Some of Snapchat's 158 million users spend almost 30 minutes in the app daily.
But that original content also lets Snapchat glean more ad revenue: according to the WSJ, Snapchat is currently giving content partners a cut of the ad revenue rather than paying for the original content upfront. For partners who appear in the existing Discover part of Snapchat, the company has given those partnering companies up to 70 percent of ad revenue if the partner sells the ad. If Snapchat sells the ad, the revenue is split 50-50. Either way, Snapchat needs to prove it can make enough money to justify its $25 billion valuation.
This news comes days after Twitter announced a slew of new content-partner deals that will bring more live video content to the social media outlet. But while Twitter wants to be a source of live and breaking-news content, Snapchat appears to be more focused on developing prerecorded, TV-like shows for its platform. Twitter's live content plans include streaming concerts through a partnership with Live Nation, regular streams of WNBA and PGA content, and a 24-7 live news channel in partnership with Bloomberg. If Snap TV content is aimed at complementing live TV, Twitter looks like it wants to replace live TV, streaming the same or similar content that traditional networks already provide.