Less than a year after it started making its own videos, stories, and shows, Snapchat is giving up on creating its own original content. The company has reportedly laid off the staff responsible for curating and creating items for its in-house Snap Channel, which had previously appeared on its ad-supported Discover tab after it was introduced earlier this year. Deadline reports that the decision has prompted the departure of Marcus Wiley, previously a high-profile grab for Snapchat, joining as its head of program planning and development after a stint as Fox's senior vice president of comedy.
Snapchat confirmed that it was closing its original content wing as it responded to the departure of Wiley. "Given that we are winding down the Snap Channel, it's natural that Marcus would want to explore other opportunities," the company told Deadline. "He is a tremendous talent, and we wish him well." Snapchat removed Snap Channel from the Discover tab earlier this month, originally indicating that it would return after some tweaks. But the company assessed what those alterations would cost, and decided instead to pull the plug on the project, leaving its Discover feature to rely on videos, programming, and stories produced by partners such as ESPN, Comedy Central, and Vice.
Snapchat was reportedly still in talks with major networks
While not as ambitious as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon in terms of original programming, Snapchat had nonetheless invested heavily in its Snapchat rollout. Its first show, Literally Can't Even, premiered in January and starred Sasha Spielberg and Emily Goldwyn as fictionalized versions of themselves. The company also teamed up with Fusion to create Vergaraland, a six-episode series about Sofia Vergara's Hollywood career as seen through the eyes of her son. The team responsible for creating and organizing this content had recently moved to 12,000-square-foot studio, to better be able to produce in-house programming, and executives were reportedly in talks with several major studios and production companies when the news of the closure came through.
Deadline says Snapchat may yet return to original programming in the future, but if it does, it won't be through Snap Channel. For now, as streaming services such as Netflix expand their portfolios and win awards with their in-house shows, Snapchat will instead rely on its live stories, its focus on news, and its Discover partners to give its 100 million users something to watch.