Snapchat and NBCUniversal Are Creating a Digital Content Studio for Scripted Shows

The Duplass Brothers will develop original programs

Snapchat is getting ready to launch more original scripted shows. stockcam/iStock
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Snapchat is delving deeper into the world of original programming, thanks to new partnerships with NBCUniversal and the Duplass Brothers.

With a digital content studio in Santa Monica, Calif., Snap Inc. and NBCUniversal said today they’re developing and producing original content in the form of scripted shows and other genres. The joint-venture studio will be led by chief content officer Lauren Anderson, who joins from NBC Entertainment, where she developed or oversaw scripted series for hit show including Parks and Recreation and The Office.

Along with the NBCUniversal partnership, Snap also said it has a new deal with Donut, the creative shop founded by the Duplass Brothers—Mark and Jay Duplass—earlier this year to help platforms and brands develop entertainment content.

“NBCUniversal is proud to have been Snap’s first partner to create shows, and we’ve seen consistent audience growth and engagement on the platform,” Maggie Suniewick, president of NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, said in a statement. “This digital content studio is an extension of our already strong partnership and an opportunity to develop new IP (intellectual property) and franchises for a mobile-first audience.”

The launch of Snap’s studio comes as other platforms rapidly expand their own plans for original content. This spring, Twitter launched 16 new live shows with a number of publisher partners. In August, Facebook officially launched its Watch tab, where the social network plans to house dozens of original scripted shows. YouTube also continues to build out its own slate of content, which expanded this spring with 40 more original shows across both its ad-supported and subscription-based platforms.

Snap Inc. first entered the original programming game last fall when it launched its first original show with NBCUniversal, creating a “TV-like” format fit for mobile devices with the debut of The Voice on Snapchat.

“We see scripted as the next exciting chapter to dive into and are thrilled to be charting this path with NBCUniversal, who have been amazing collaborators from the start, and with the leadership of Lauren, who has a fantastic track record in this space,” said Sean Mills, Snap Inc.’s head of original content. “We’re huge fans of Mark and Jay, and can’t wait to see how they bring their innovative storytelling to Snapchat.”

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.