Snapchat announced that it has signed multi-year deals with Disney, ESPN, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, the NBA, and the NFL to expand its content for Snapchat’s Discover platform. The agreement includes continued production of existing original franchises, such as ESPN’s “SportsCenter on Snapchat,” NBC News’ “Stay Tuned,” E! News’ “The Rundown” and MTV’s “Teen Code.”
Snapchat made the announcements on Thursday at its 2020 Snap Partner Summit. The new slate of Snap Originals, set to premiere over the next year, includes unscripted series, character-driven docuseries, and scripted dramas and comedies. Some of them will use Snap’s augmented-reality technologies for immersive storytelling experiences. Scripted shows coming to Snapchat include “Frogtown,” about an all-female skate crew (directed by Catherine Hardwicke of “Twilight” fame), and “Action Royale." All the deals call for expanded programming commitments. “We’re getting better and better at programming,” Sean Mills, Snap’s Content Chief said. “It’s not about episode length. It’s not about aspect ratio. It’s not about how many stars you have. It’s how you tell the story and how well you know your audience.”
More than 125 million people have watched news content on Snapchat this year. The company also introduced a dedicated product in the Snapchat app called Happening Now, a new destination for breaking news. It has partnered with news organizations including the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Reuters, NBC News, ESPN, Group Nine Media’s NowThis, E! News, and BuzzFeed News. Happening Now will include publicly submitted “snaps” from users, as well as personalized weather from Bitmoji in partnership with AccuWeather and horoscopes from Sanctuary. The social media and messaging company also announced the release of original shows with partners including actor-comedian and Laugh Out Loud founder/CEO, Kevin Hart, writer-director Catherine Hardwicke from “Twilight” and “Thirteen.” Emmy-nominated actor and producer Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”); and reality-TV pioneers Bunim/Murray Productions.
As of the first quarter of 2020, on average 229 million people use the Snapchat app daily, reaching more people in the U.S. than Twitter and TikTok combined, according to CEO Evan Spiegel. Overall, more than 60 Snapchat Shows reached monthly audiences of at least 10 million viewers in Q1 2020. That includes more than 35 million Snapchatters who have watched “Will From Home,” in which Will Smith shares his stay-at-home experience. Over 22 million Snapchatters have watched “Nikita Unfiltered.
Under the expanded N.F.L. deal, the league will triple the number of “near real-time” highlights shows on Snapchat. The league will also continue to supply Snapchat with other video programming year-round and develop augmented-reality lenses and filters tied to specific teams and events, including the Super Bowl. Blake Stuchin, the league’s vice president for digital media business development, said that 70 percent of Snapchat users that view N.F.L. content are under the age of 25. Courting younger fans is crucial for the league’s future. “We want to meet our fans where they already are, whether that means making sure they know there is a game coming up or telling them more about a favorite player or giving them creative tools to express themselves,” Mr. Stuchin said.
Snapchat’s reassertion of itself in entertainment and news comes as one would-be competitor, Quibi, an app offering short-form shows designed for viewing on phones, attempts to regroup after a disastrous arrival in April. Quibi fell out of the list of the 50 most downloaded free iPhone apps in the United States a week after it went live. On Thursday it ranked No. 285.
We’re getting better and better at programming. It’s not about episode length. It’s not about aspect ratio. It’s not about how many stars you have. It’s how you tell the story and how well you know your audience.” Sean Mills Content Chief, Snapchat