Snapchat’s First In-App Web Series Is Coming Tomorrow

Eager to erect a profitable business model, Snapchat is taking a page from Netflix’s playbook.

Snapchat’s First In-App Web Series Is Coming Tomorrow
[Photo: Flickr user Maurizio Pesce]

Snapchat is about to start feeling a bit more like Netflix. At least, that’s what the company is aiming for with the arrival of its first in-app episodic video series. If the gamble works, you (or your teenage kids) will soon be spending a lot more time staring into the app.


Literally Can’t Even is an original series coming tomorrow to Snap Channel, which is part of the newly launched Discover media tab within the Snapchat app. This new section of the app will be home to longer video content and, the company hopes, a lucrative source of ad revenue.

The original series, written by costars Sasha Spielberg and Emily Goldwyn, will be updated with a new episode every Saturday. So unlike other popular web video series, this one won’t be conducive to bingeing. Especially since–as you might expect–each new episode will disappear after 24 hours.

Explains The Hollywood Reporter:

By producing its own content, Snapchat is following the model set by Netflix and others, albeit with shortform content. It’s a move that sets Snapchat apart from other social apps, including Vine, that have stayed out of the content game despite seeing a surge in creative content on their platform. YouTube, meanwhile, funded a clip show called YouTube Nation last year that was produced by DreamWorks Animation and has said it will begin funding original projects from some of its top creators.

The original content initiative is, above all else, an attempt to answer the ever-looming question: How do you monetize an app that lets people send self-destructing imagery and messages to each other?

For an app like Vine or Instagram, it’s easy enough to just insert ads into people’s feeds like Twitter or Facebook. But with Snapchat, the user experience isn’t built around traditional social feeds, but rather focuses on user-to-user content sharing. On top of that, the ephemeral, hyper-personal nature of Snapchat makes it very hard to slap on an ad before or after the content is sent out. One option, the company announced last fall, is to build “disappearing” ad units into the app–and charge a very hefty sum for them.

In order to finally fetch profits and prove its massive $10 billion valuation, Snapchat is tacking an entirely new type of content. But will disappearing ads and TV shows–an untested form of social advertising, to say the least–be enough?

About the author

John Paul Titlow is a writer at Fast Company focused on music and technology, among other things.