Snapchat and NBCUniversal are partnering to float a Hollywood studio that will create programmes or shows for mobile phones. The shows will be between 8 and 10 minutes.
To make this a reality, the companies will establish a studio Joint Venture to produce programming exclusively for the social-messaging and media platform.
Both parties will work with a handful of creative partners, signing their first deal with filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass.
The studio- which will be owned equally Snap and NBCU- gives credence to the argument that entertainment for mobile platforms requires a different way of producing content.
Sean Mills, Snap’s head of content said: “We fundamentally believe that mobile is a new medium because that creative process is so unique, we felt there was a need for a fully dedicated entity focused on that.”
Meanwhile, the companies have recruited Lauren Anderson, who has served as NBC Entertainment’s senior VP of current programming, to be the Joint Venture’s chief content officer. The new studio — which doesn’t have a name yet — will be overseen by Mills and Maggie Suniewick, president of NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises.
Over the past year, Snapchat has worked with NBC as well as other networks and media companies to produce original, short-form shows for its platform.
For NBCU, the high level of engagement of Snapchat’s audience on the shows it has produced convinced the media company to go forward with the plan to form a scripted-programming studio, Suniewick said.
For the second quarter, Snapchat had an average of 173 million active daily users. “This is really about figuring out what resonates on the platform,” Suniewick said.
The formation of the studio Joint Venture comes after NBCU invested $500 million in Snap earlier this year as part of Snap’s initial public offering.
Suniewick said the amount NBCU is investing in the studio JV is separate from that. The companies declined to disclose the level of investment in the JV, or how many staffers they expect to bring on board under Anderson’s purview.
Meanwhile, Snap is continuing to work with partners on scripted programming. Those include Time Warner, which agreed to develop and produce up to 10 shows per year for Snapchat from across its divisions, including those with scripted drama and comedy formats.
Venturing into the production of shows for mobile phones will go a long way in rebounding the fortunes of Snapchat is competing feverishly with Facebook to remain relevant and at the same convince Snap’s shareholders to keep their money in the company.