Snap, NBCUniversal form original content venture

Gwen Vasquez
October 19, 2017

Snap Inc, parent company of messaging and video app Snapchat, and NBCUniversal launched a joint venture studio on Tuesday to produce scripted shows and other genres to air on Snapchat.

The new studio's first deal is with Donut Studios, founded by brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, who have produced and acted in shows like HBO's "Togetherness" and "Room 104".

The two firms will hold equal stakes in a new digital content studio to be based in Santa Monica, California, that will make "made-for-mobile programming to primarily debut on Snapchat", a joint statement said. The new studio will be a 50/50 ownership between NBC and Snap. Lauren Anderson, who has served as NBC Entertainment's senior vice president of current programming, will be its chief content officer. Some news programmes already exist on Snapchat (Screenshot/Snapchat) Snap's head of original content Sean Mills said: "We see scripted as the next exciting chapter to dive into, and are thrilled to be charting this path with NBCUniversal, who have been wonderful collaborators from the start". "Because that creative process is so unique, we felt there was a need for a fully dedicated entity focused on that".

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The US TV network has previously been behind hit shows such as Parks And Recreation and Will & Grace, and also created the first daily news show for Snapchat - Stay Tuned. It also made a $500 million strategic investment in Snap as part of its initial public offering.

Mark Duplass, creative director at Donut, added: "For us, shooting in that vertical mobile format is a terrifying and thrilling creative challenge". The companies said that Snapchat users should expect the new scripted series to arrive in 2018 but didn't announce an exact timeframe or release date. The venture will be shared equally in terms of equity between Snap and NBCU.

Snap has already dipped its toes in the waters of TV-style content, with news, reality and comedy shorts with US TV networks based on existing shows such as The Bachelor. Partnering with Snap seems to be a logical step forward for the media company. Both companies adhere to the idea that entertainment for mobile platforms needs to be produced differently than for traditional venues.

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