A big piece of Snap’s pitch to IPO investors in March was that Snapchat would be the place where TV advertising dollars would land, as they shifted to the digital realm.
Snap hasn’t been the first to make this pitch — see Facebook, YouTube, and so on — nor will it be the last. But the truth of the pitch might rest in how well Snapchat’s new push into TV-like shows goes. The company has worked with tons of TV networks and other media companies over the last few months, with the goal of getting a regular rotation of Snapchat shows moving through the app.
A new report from The Wall Street Journal’s Shalini Ramachandran sheds some light on what form those shows will take. Here are some of the details:
- Snap wants about 2-3 shows to go up on the app each day, by the end of 2017, Snap confirmed to Business Insider. These will live in the “Stories” section of Snapchat, under the “Shows” header, which already exists now.
- As to length, these shows will be about 3-5 minutes long. That’s important because Snap isn’t paying money up front for them, but instead relying solely on an ad revenue split, Snap confirmed. The Journal reported that Snap is giving a 50-50 ad revenue split, which is lower than some partners are getting in its Discover section (Snap declined to comment on that figure). But whatever the split, funding a 3-5 minute show, on the promise of future ad revenue, is a lot more palatable for a media company than sinking hundreds of thousands into longer content. In contrast, Facebook is in the midst of buying shows, with cash up front, to seed its own premium video initiative.
- Snap has been very involved in the development of the shows, according to the Journal, which reported that Snap gave out “extensive and detailed notes” to TV partners. A Snap spokesperson told Business Insider that these kinds of notes were focused on how to make content work on the Snapchat platform, from more of a form-factor perspective than a creative one. Snap will also share “detailed data” with media companies, which differs from the likes of Netflix, a company that famously tells its creators next to nothing about how their shows are performing. Again, this is likely another reason why media companies are willing to pony up the initial costs.
- So what will these shows be about? Snapchat is looking for all kinds of shows, from reality to scripted, from news to horror. Snap has shows in the works from NBC, ESPN, the NFL, Turner, ABC, BBC, A&E, Discovery, Vice, and others, the company told Business Insider.
If you want to read more about Snapchat’s push into TV-like shows, head over the the Journal for commentary from both Snap and media execs. And if you’re curious what making a show for Snapchat is like, check out our interview with Jennie Sutton, who made a show for Comedy Central’s Snapchat Discover channel in 2016.