NBC Universal Will Make Original “Shows” For Snapchat

A number of high-profile entertainment companies are already programming content for Snapchat, but for the most part it’s repurposed stories, photos, list-icles, and infographics that has seen life elsewhere in the world. However, NBC Universal seems to believe Snapchat could be a platform for exclusive original content.

The network has already announced a Snapchat adjunct of NBC’s The Voice singing competition. Rather than just show clips from the new season, “The Voice on Snapchat” will feature online submissions from users of the social media service, and feedback from Voice judges.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that this is just one of many NBCU shows coming to Snapchat. NBCU-owned E! will soon debut a Snapchat-exclusive weekly show called “The Rundown,” while the teams behind Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will produce original videos specifically for the platform.

“This is going to be more of an original show production,” NBCU exec Ron Lamprecht tells the Journal. “The idea that you’re going to take a horizontal piece of content, even if it’s great, and just crop it vertically isn’t going to work.”

At the same time, Lamprecht acknowledges that some content will exist on multiple formats, so not everything on Snapchat will be exclusive.

Most importantly, NBCU will be selling advertising against these Snapchat shows. If it’s successful, it would show TV networks that there is money to be made in this format. Similarly, Snapchat would be able to show other content companies that their company is a viable platform for new media and not just a lark with no real return on in investment.

The NBCU deal marks the latest in evolution for Snapchat, which was originally marketed as a way for users to send private, personal messages that self-destructed. It has since grown to become a mini-broadcasting platform for some users, allowing them to blast out “Stories” — images and short videos — to their friends and followers.

Hosting original content would begin to put Snapchat in competition with services like YouTube and Facebook. At the same time, Snapchat is feeling the heat from Facebook-owned Instagram, which last week unveiled a “Stories” sharing option that is virtually identical to what is offered by Snapchat.

According to AdAge, advertisers have already begun slobbering over the Instagram Stories, because the Instagram platform is larger and more welcoming.

“Instagram is a follower platform where Snapchat is more of a best friend platform,” one media exec told AdAge. “Snapchat hasn’t encouraged brands to build up huge followings.”