NBCUniversal and Snap Inc. are teaming up to produce content for Snapchat, in an effort to stake a claim in a crowded market where both traditional media companies and cash-flush tech firms are vying to create original shows.
The partnership is the latest push to expand Snapchat beyond its popularity as a messaging application into a full-fledged content provider. For Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, the joint venture deepens its relationship with Snap, in which it owns a stake, and illustrates its desire to create content for platforms beyond its own broadcast and cable networks.
The as-yet untitled studio has struck a deal with Donut Studios, a production company headed by Mark and Jay Duplass, two brothers whose acting, directing and producing credits include the HBO shows “Togetherness” and “Room 104” as well as movies for Netflix. The focus of the partnership will be to create scripted short-form content targeting the 18- to 24-yearold audience, a demographic whose consumption of traditional media is on the wane.
At a time when other tech companies are making bold commitments to creating their own original content, Snap seems to be more willing to get into bed with traditional media companies.
“We feel we want to be friends of media,” Snap's content head, Nick Bell, said at a conference in August. Facebook has said it is willing to spend as much as $1 billion through 2018 to create original shows for its platform, and Apple Inc. has set a budget of roughly $1 billion to procure and produce original content in the next year.
Without the war chests of Facebook and Apple, Snap is articulating what it can offer media companies. At the August conference, Mr. Bell described Snap as a place where viewers can discover content and where TV providers can drive interest among young viewers and bridge the gap between TV seasons.
Lauren Anderson, a veteran NBC Entertainment executive, has been tapped as chief content officer for the venture. Ms. Anderson most recently was a senior vice president of primetime programming for NBC.
The venture will report to a board of NBCU and Snap executives. In a statement, Ms. Anderson said the combination of NBC's creative expertise and Snap's digital reach creates “the unique ability to take mobile programming to the next level, creating compelling shows for both viewers and advertisers.” Terms of the venture weren't disclosed. Mark Duplass joked that Donut is getting a “big bucket of money and we're going to take that and make as many shows as we can.”
Most content on Snap runs three to five minutes with 10 second ad breaks. Mr. Duplass said shows he and his brother develop may run closer to seven or eight minutes and 10 minutes at the most. The duo will look to create at least three shows and hopefully have something out early next year.