Snapchat wants to have its own original scripted shows by the end of this year. At the Edinburgh International Television Festival today, Snapchat’s head of content, Nick Bell, called scripted programming an “interesting next venture” for the company, Variety reports.
While Snapchat’s plans seem vague, focusing on scripted shows feels like an inevitable decision. Up until now, the company has mostly relied on networks with built-in audiences to create Snapchat-ready versions of already-popular TV shows. This year, Snapchat partnered with NBC for a news show and a series of Saturday Night Live shorts, with ABC for a Bachelor recap show, and with A&E for another reality show about dating.
Scripted shows feel inevitable, if risky
Scripted, original content could help Snapchat legitimize its entertainment goals while giving it more control over the content it provides to users. But original content is risky and expensive, especially as Snapchat continues to suffer from slow user growth. The service actually launched its first scripted series back in 2015. It was called Literally Can’t Even, and it was widely panned by viewers.
But Snapchat says it wants to complement, rather than compete with, linear television. “Mobile is not a TV killer,” Bell said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We see mobile as being fundamentally a new medium.”
Bell reportedly said Snapchat is also considering the idea of working with movie studios to hype upcoming films in the lull between franchise releases.