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This article was published on October 17, 2017

Snapchat is opening a Hollywood studio to make shows just for your tiny screen

Snapchat is opening a Hollywood studio to make shows just for your tiny screen
Inés Casserly

Snap and NBCUniversal have teamed up to create a Hollywood studio set to focus on mobile entertainment.

The joint venture aims to bring longer, scripted content to the app world. The project will focus on teaming up with creative partners in order to create 8-10 minute shows in the hopes of keeping (or increasing) its 173 million active daily users on the app. The deals will be exclusive, unlike Facebook and YouTube — only partners will be produce content, leaving out any competition.

Earlier this year, Snapchat teamed up with over a dozen companies to create original content for its discover section. The app already offers short-format shows, such as Good Luck America, a news show hosted by Peter Hamby during the elections, and NBC’s The Voice, which was even nominated for an Emmy. This deal included big names such as ABC, BBC and of course, NBCUniversal, which makes sense, as it invested $500 million in Snap at the beginning of the year.

Mark and Jay Duplass, co-creators of HBO series “Room 104” and “Togetherness,” landed the first deal of the newest project. Mark told Business Insider that they are keen to see how millennials, their main audience, react to this kind of content. The biggest challenge will be working with vertical-frame format, which is one of the main differences from their usual work, but said the companies gave them creative freedom over the content.

The whole deal seems attractive, but there’s a reason a lot of users have abandoned Snapchat. Instagram has managed to snatch users over to its app by offering the basic Snapchat idea: sharing images and stories that people see for a limited time. Any added features, such as discover, only keep users in once they’re already using the app — and I’m not entirely sure it will bring back in those who have stopped using it, or never used it at all.

I stopped using Snapchat a few months after Instagram introduced stories — it felt like betrayal at first, but once you get the hang of having everything in one application, there’s virtually no sense in having both Snapchat and Instagram installed on your phone. If Snapchat couldn’t keep me in with its exclusive discover features or admittedly better effects, I’m pretty sure I won’t be back once they have 10 minute shows.

Snapchat’s latest attempt to keep its head above water can be compared to Facebook’s Watch, the company’s newest feature, to differentiate themselves from other platforms and provide original, exclusive content, just like YouTube. The only way these projects will be successful is if they give the audience something they can’t find elsewhere.

Snap and NBCU must ensure that the content that they produce jointly will be of high enough quality to attract new users. If that fails, there will be no difference between the current discover section, mini-shows and what’s to come.

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