Snapchat's Snap TV will host original content from Vice, ESPN, and others

The future of television might be on Snapchat. According to the Wall Street Journal, Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, is in talks with NBCUniversal, Vice Media, and ESPN to produce original, short-form shows for its upcoming streaming service, Snap TV.

Unlike Twitter’s recently announced TV platform, which focuses on live videos, Snap TV will serve up curated, short-form content that will complement traditional television. It will consist of “two to three episodes” of three-to-five-minute original programming from Turner, A&E, ABC, Fox, Discovery, Vice Media, the NFL, and others when it launches in the coming months. The content will stream each day from Snapchat’s Stories section, which currently shows photos and videos from media companies and other Snapchat users.

Snap is reportedly being choosy about the pitches it’s approving, going so far as to give guidance to studio executives. It wants “true original content” instead of promotions, the Wall Street Journal Reports, including scripted dramas, animated series, and daily news shows.

NBCUniversal was a test case. A Snapchat spin-off of The Voice tasked users with submitting a 10-second audition clip, which was judged, and the winner went on to make an appearance on the live TV version of The Voice. 

Snap won’t pay for the material upfront. Instead, it will give content creators a cut of the ad revenue — up to 70 percent if they sell the ads themselves, and a a 50-50 split if Snapchat does it for them.

Snap TV is a win-win for Snapchat and content creators. More eyeballs on Snap’s videos (and its ads, by extension) means more revenue to justify the startup’s $25 billion valuation. And Snap’s media partners are betting Snapchat’s more frequent users — the roughly 158 million people who spend about 30 minute using the app daily — will help spread the word.

Nielson reports that media companies that publish Snapchat content see “notable audience growth” on TV and other platforms, and that the app delivered a 16-percent boost to the average monthly reach.

Despite the renewed attention on video content, though, Snap is not abandoning its core strengths anytime soon. In April, it launched Word Lens, which adds augmented reality text, graphics, and animations to real-world scenes. And in May, it debuted a universal search feature that makes it easier for users to find friends, users, emojis, and stories.

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