Snap Renews 3 Original Shows and Expands E!’s ‘What the Fashion’ to Twice Per Week (Exclusive)

“Viewers are spending more time watching Discover content than ever before,” says Snap’s Vanessa Guthrie

Snap Inc. has renewed three original series, including shows produced by NBCU and MTV, and expanded its E! original series “What the Fashion” to airing twice per week, TheWrap exclusively learned on Wednesday.

The third season of E!’s “Face Forward,” with beauty sage Patrick Starr giving celebrity-inspired makeovers to young women looking to make a change, will launch on Snapchat on Sept. 7. The series, produced by NBCUniversal Digital Lab, averaged 4.4 million viewers per episode lsat season. New episodes will air each Saturday for the next eight weeks.

Snap also is bringing back MTV’s “Wrong Distance Relationship,” chronicling the highs and lows of young people navigating long-distance relationships, for a second season. The show will return to Snapchat in early 2020. The first season pulled in more than 8.5 million viewers.

“We’re very excited to be making another season of ‘Wrong-Distance Relationship’ – and to continue MTV’s long-standing relationship with Snapchat,” Garth Bardsley, vice president of digital video at MTV, said.  “Throughout season one, we watched as couples navigated all the trials and tribulations of a LDR, and we watched our fans grow along with it. We look forward to working with Snap on bringing even more drama and excitement to season two.”

The third series Snap has renewed is “Second Chance,” produced by Hearst Originals. The show — which reunites exes for the first time since breaking up — pulled in nearly 12 million viewers during its third season earlier this year. The fourth season will hit Snapchat in November.

At the same time, Snap on Wednesday expanded E!’s “What the Fashion” to two airings per week, starting immediately. The show, where hosts Morgan Stewart, Zuri Hall and Justin Martindale review the latest fashion trends, will now air on Snapchat Discover on Wednesdays and Fridays.

“It’s always exciting to see our partners find success in building new franchises, and continue to innovate on our platform to deliver the best in mobile storytelling,” Vanessa Guthrie, director of Snap’s originals, said. “Viewers are spending more time watching Discover content than ever before, and we’re thrilled to bring our audience more of the hit Snap originals they love.”

Snapchatters watching content on Discover each day has increased 35% year-over-year, and the total daily time users spend watching Snap shows has tripled in the last year, according to a person familiar with its metrics; they declined to share specific figures on how much time Snapchatters spend watching Discover content on a daily basis.

The returning shows indicate Snap is doubling down on its vision for 5-minute shows that appeal to Millennial and Gen Z viewers; CEO Evan Spiegel boasted earlier this year that Snapchat “now reaches nearly 75% of 13-34-year-olds” in the U.S.

The renewals also come as more big-budget competitors are moving towards short-form mobile content. Quibi, the Los Angeles-based startup from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, is looking to grab viewers when it launches next year with 5-10 minute shows featuring several stars, including Jennifer Lopez and Justin Timberlake. The service will run $4.99 per month for ad-supported, mobile-only streaming.

Snap has looked toward big names, as well. It recently partnered with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kevin Hart on upcoming shows  — but has typically leaned on reality shows and influencer-driven series since moving into content four years ago. Snap started to expand beyond its reality roots in late 2018, when it greenlit a handful of scripted and unscripted original shows.

“Having a really compelling character and a really compelling story that’s relatable, that reads authentic to our audience, was more important than going out and trying to find deals with the biggest celebrities we can find,” Sean Mills, Snap’s head of original content, said last year.

Snap’s content push has coincided with a rebound for the Los Angeles-based company. Snap’s stock price has tripled since Christmas 2018, as the company continues to move beyond a botched app redesign that stifled user growth for much of the year. In July, Snap posted its best user growth in years as Snapchat added 13 million daily active users during Q2, finishing the quarter with 203 million users overall.

Sean Burch

Sean Burch

Tech reporter • • @seanb44 

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