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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel doubles down on Snapchat original video series—in mobile-friendly, five-minute chunks

New shows includes a daily offering from BuzzFeed about internet culture, plus stuff for sneakerheads, woke bros, and lovers of messy drama.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel doubles down on Snapchat original video series—in mobile-friendly, five-minute chunks
[Image: courtesy of Snap]

Snap used its first-ever Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles on Thursday to announce a new slate of original shows on Snapchat, including a daily BuzzFeed show about internet culture and a series that explores the Los Angeles sneakerhead scene. 

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The 10 new shows come on the heels of Snap’s success with some of its first Snap Originals, launched last October: Endless Summer and Dead Girls Detective Agency. According to Snapchat original content head Sean Mills, the docuseries Endless Summer has garnered over 28 million unique views. And 40% of viewers who tuned into the first episode of Dead Girls Detective Agency went on to watch the entire first season. 

“Mobile is now the dominant medium for telling stories and consuming content,” Mills said. “In 2019, mobile will surpass television in time spent for U.S. adults. This transformation is creating massive new opportunities.

“Mobile storytelling has to be different,” he went on, “because the way we use our phones is different: short, frequent sessions with our thumbs hovering over the screen and so much competing for our attention.” 

Snap’s new originals reflect this attempt to be different, or at least cater to the way Snap’s users use the platform to message and chat with friends. (Though in his opening address cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel repeatedly referred to Snap as a camera company, as per the company’s orientation since it filed to go public in 2016.) The shows are all about five minutes in length and shot in vertical full-screen, with quick-cuts and an emphasis on visuals, Mills said. “It’s what television for the mobile phone should look like.” 

Unsurprisingly, they skew heavily toward millennials, in keeping with Snap’s user demo. Spiegel said that 90% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13 and 24, noting that Snapchat has a greater share of that audience than either Facebook or Instagram in the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, and Australia.   

Speaking of throwing a little shade at rivals, Snap’s sneakerhead show may well be a bit of a shot across the bow of Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose short-form video startup Quibi has touted its own L.A. sneakerhead series, which is produced by Lena Waithe. The Quibi service is not expected to launch until a year from now, while Snap’s series will be out in June. Katzenberg gleefully announced at SXSW in March that he had also greenlit a series about Spiegel and the founding of Snapchat, which was likely not well received by Spiegel.

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Here is a rundown of Snap’s new originals: 

* Two Sides – A young couple navigates a breakup told from both character’s points of view simultaneously. Produced by New Form, the show will debut in May. 

*Commanders – A comedy about two teenage outcasts who discover a mysterious computer code that can alter real life. When they use the code to disrupt the social structure at their high school, things get interesting. Produced by Dakota Pictures, the show launches in June. 

* Untitled BuzzFeed Daily Show – A daily afternoon show brings viewers the latest celebrity, entertainment, and OMG moments blowing up the internet. Launches in the spring.

* Sneakerheads – A comedy following the misadventures of three college freshmen as they navigate the crazy, shady world of Los Angeles sneaker culture. Produced by Indigo Development, Entertainment Arts,  and EMJAG, the scripted series debuts in June. 

* While Black – In this unscripted social commentary series, author, filmmaker, recording artist, and educator MK Asanta explores racially charged social issues through candid conversations. Produced by Indigo Entertainment, Entertainment Arts, and Main Event Media, the show launches this summer. 

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*  Can’t Talk Now – A teen soap opera set in the world of high school freshmen, where the drama unfolds across group texts, video chats, and social media. Produced by New Form, the show launches this summer. 

* Compton Dreams – Follows three up-and-coming hip-hop artists from Compton who are striving to become the next big names in music. Produced by October Films, this docsseries debuts this summer. 

* Denton’s Death Date – Based on the novel by Lance Rubin, this scripted series is set in a world where everyone knows the day they’re going to die. Denton Little, a high school junior, finds out that his death day is just one week away: the night of the high school prom. Produced by Insurrection Media, this series debuts in September. 

* Stranded with Sam and Colby – In this docuseries, a pair of teens film footage in a haunted town, where things turn from fun into terrifying. Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, this docuseries launches this fall. 

* Dead of Night – Armed with only her phone, a teenage girl must escape a quarantined city full of zombies. The scripted series is shot from the point of view of her smartphone screen. Produced by Bazelevs in association with Hooked, the show launches this October. 

 

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About the author

Nicole LaPorte is an LA-based senior writer for Fast Company who writes about where technology and entertainment intersect. She previously was a columnist for The New York Times and a staff writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and Variety

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