Snapchat just took a big step forward in its bid to reinvent TV.
The company announced a new lineup of original shows, both scripted and unscripted, that will debut on Wednesday. The shows, now branded as “Snap Originals,” will be promoted prominently within the app and will receive prominent placement in Snapchat’s Discover section.
Though Snapchat has been investing in original shows for more than a year, this new lineup is the company’s most ambitious yet. It marks the first time there have been scripted, serialized shows and the first time the company is making significant changes to its core app to promote the shows.
The app is tweaking the design of its Discover page to clearly differentiate between shows and other content from Snap’s Discover partners. Shows will also be placed ahead of other publisher content that currently appears in the “for you” section of Discover.
Each show is also getting a new landing page within the app, where you can browse episode lists and keep track of what you’ve already watched. The landing page, which features splashy graphics and an episode queue, is the clearest sign yet that Snap is taking cues from other streaming services, like Netflix, to encourage binge-watching.
The shows themselves are a mix of scripted series and unscripted “docuseries” spanning a variety of genres. But all are clearly aimed at younger viewers, who make up Snapchat’s most loyal demographic.
The first Snap Originals are debuting today, with new episodes being added daily. The shows include:
Endless Summer: A reality show following two influencers in Laguna Beach, California.
Class of Lies: A scripted drama series about two true crime podcasters whose friend goes missing.
Co-Ed: A scripted show about two college freshman roommates.
Three more shows will launch later this month and six other have been greenlit, but don’t yet have air dates.
Each episode is about five minutes long and the length of each series will be between eight and 12 episodes. The shows will include non-skippable commercials of up to six seconds.
Besides the addition of a new ad revenue source, the launch of Snap Originals is significant for Snap, which has been struggling following a disastrous redesign and slowing user growth.
Investing more in original programming likely to appeal to its core user base (and encouraging binge-watching) could help boost engagement with the service overall. It also bolsters the company’s credibility as content platform, something the company has been eager to embrace.
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