While Facebook and Google battle each other for the affection, or at least grudging loyalty, of media companies and publishers, small but plucky contender Snapchat is steadily building its own relationships with content creators. It just revealed a new scripted content partnership with NBCUniversal, and is also ramping up its content deals with Hearst.
NBCU, which owns a partial stake in Snapchat, will work with the company in a joint venture to form a digital studio that will produce original, short-form video first aired exclusively on Snapchat. All content will be tailored for mobile consumption in the platform’s vertical visual format.
The first project will be a scripted series produced by Donut, the production house formed by the Duplass brothers, the creative force behind “The Skeleton Twins,” a comedy-drama starring Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, and “Togetherness,” a series for HBO.
In the unscripted realm, NBCU and Snapchat have already partnered on another series, "The Voice on Snapchat," a reality TV-style talent contest spinoff.
The move comes about a year after Snap signaled its intention to create new original video offerings with the launch of Shows, a new category on its Discover platform.
NBCU invested $500 million in Snapchat parent Snap during its IPO in March. The broadcaster has also taken stakes in a number of other big content creators targeting the millennial audience, including BuzzFeed.
Hearst is also boosting its investment in Snapchat Discover, raising the frequency of contributions from its biggest magazines to twice a week, double the previous frequency, according to Business Insider, which first reported the news.
The list of Hearst titles with channels on Snapchat Discover includes Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Popular Mechanics and Road & Track. These titles attract an average of 2 million unique visitors per week, BI reports, with three-quarters of this audience falling in the highly desirable 13-24 age bracket.
Most important, Hearst is sticking with the original digital magazine format for these editions, in contrast to other content producers, many that are pivoting to video.