Snapchat plans to create its own original scripted shows by the end of the year, but insists “mobile is not a TV killer” and that the company wants to complement, not compete, with the television industry.
Snapchat Vice President of Content Nick Bell outlined an “interesting next juncture” Wednesday at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.
Calling mobile “fundamentally a new medium,” he maintained that longform content has no place in the company’s strategy. Videos between three-to-five minutes will remain ideal for the platform, and the shorter length, along with favoring closeups over wide shots, would differentiate the look from traditional TV.
“We want to be friends of the media,” Bell said, adding the company’s focus is to connect the dots between television and mobile.
Bell highlighted how Snapchat’s offshoots for shows such as NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s The Bachelor have helped boost viewership for both of those series, saying “Snapchat shows drive tune in to TV.”
Snap has struck a handful of partnerships with networks that include NBC, ABC, the BBC and Vice Media. In June the company announced a $100 million, two-year deal for Time Warner to produce 10 shows annually exclusively for the app.
James Corden’s Next James Corden, a fictional reality competition show to replace the late-night host, is also set to premiere on Snapchat this fall, and earlier this week CNN debuted a daily news show The Update on the platform.
“We like to work with networks,” Bell said. “We actually think this idea of network is going to live on.”
In terms of the type of original scripted content Snapchat wants to produce, Bell pointed to long-running series with memorable characters.
“I love the idea of doing a daily soap like Coronation Street ... Or a sitcom like Friends or an animation like [The] Simpsons,” he said. Snapchat videos also need to go beyond “behind-the-scenes”-type of content and stand on their own in order to be successful, he said.
The move comes as the company boasts a high of 173 million daily users, but parent company Snap Inc. also reported slow user growth in its earnings earlier this month.
When it comes to the company’s broader role, Bell compared Snapchat to a company such as Marvel that creates IP for a wide range of entertainment uses.
“We see ourselves as being part of that mix,” Bell said.
He said Snapchat is also interested in working with movie studios to promote upcoming films and franchises, particularly during lulls between releases.
And Snapchat isn’t the only tech company pursuing original programming. Last week Apple revealed plans to spend $1 billion on original series and films over the next year.
Bell said Snapchat had been hesitant to pursue scripted content in the past because of the high cost.
“Scripted is expensive, and we want to make sure that we understand that as much as we can before we jump into that world with two feet,” he said, while adding, “I would expect to see some scripted stuff before the end of this year.”