New Snapchat Scripted Original Content ‘Imminent,’ Content VP Says

TCA 2018: Snapchat’s redesign “got in the way a little bit” of its scripted originals rollout, says VP of Content Nick Bell

Last Updated: January 16, 2018 @ 7:48 AM

Snapchat’s second attempt at scripted original content is coming sooner rather than later, Snap Inc. VP of Content Nick Bell said during a panel at the Television Critics Association conference on Monday.

“It’s imminent… our preference is to get it right,” said Bell, before pointing to a recently-announced partnership with the Duplass brothers to bring new shows to the app.

Last summer, Bell hinted scripted originals would hit the app by the end of 2017. Missing that mark, according to Bell, was in part due to the app’s highly-publicized redesign getting “in the way a little bit.”

Snapchat already has 40 shows airing on its Discover channel, with an emphasis on reality and unscripted shows; the app has featured several dating shows, including one from rapper Action Bronson, as well as airing content from NBC News and ESPN’s SportsCenter twice a day.

Discover is equally focused on its “digital magazine” roots and its continued rollout of shows, according to a Snap spokesperson. To this point, its publisher content hasn’t been a game changer for the app, according to internal metrics shared by The Daily Beast last week, with only 21 percent of Snapchat users checking out Discover’s publisher content on a daily basis,

In terms of partners or stars, Bell and Sean Mills, head of original content at Snap, had little to offer on Monday. Speaking to a room of mostly non-Snapchatters (only a handful of attendees raised their hands when Bell asked if anyone had used the app in the last week), the panel was primarily an opportunity for the Snap execs to explain their platform. Snap’s next attempt at scripted originals will be its first since the poorly-received “Literally Can’t Even” debuted back in 2015. (That show centered on Sasha Spielberg — daughter of Steven Spielberg — as she tried to get over a breakup without the assistance of alcohol.)

News shows, so far, have been a successful genre for the app, according to Bell. The exec added 3.5 billion Snaps are created each day, and that Snap had “just started to embrace the creator community” — something more in-line with its chief competitor, Instagram. Bell said they’ll look to “double down” on a “small base” of creators moving forward.