In August 2022, alongside laying off 20% of its staff, Snap, the owner of social media platform Snapchat, made the decision to discontinue all investment in its content production entity Snap Originals, as well as the company’s drone selfie camera Pixy, Snapchat Minis, and Games. As Snap bows out of the international content race, Ampere Analysis looked back on the company’s journey in commissioning vertically-shot Originals for its social media platform.
Snap Originals have been in decline since their conception, with a 94% decrease in the volume of commissions announced between Q3 2019 and Q3 2021. The company already showed signs of cost-cutting with an increased focus on cheaper Unscripted content: between 2019 and 2020, 65% of Snap Originals were Unscripted, while between 2021 and 2022 this number had risen to 86%.
With over half of all upcoming Snap Originals being produced by external companies (61%), all existing contractual commitments will be honored, but no new original titles will be commissioned, and all released titles will not be renewed for further seasons. The company has 18 Original titles currently in production, most of which are Unscripted (83%). With the aim of leveraging existing popularity among its youth-skewing consumer base, 80% of all upcoming Unscripted Snap Originals feature celebrities or social media stars.
“Should these titles be popular, as several series from other failed forays into Original content have proven, this may not be the end for all Snap Originals. ‘Cobra Kai’ and ‘Step Up’ have both been recommissioned for multiple seasons by Netflix and Starz, respectively, after being cancelled by YouTube, and a number of titles from the failed short-form platform Quibi have similarly been ‘rescued’ by Roku, suggesting there is potential for cancelled Snapchat titles to be revived by more established, content-first, commissioners,” said Hana Smith, Researcher, and Olivia Deane, Senior Analyst at Ampere Analysis and the authors of the report.