Snapchat gets billions of views each day and has raised several hundred million dollars of venture capital, but despite those gains, it is cutting back. The app, known for its messages that disappear after a set period of time, has laid off the entire team dedicated to in-house original programming.
Snapchat’s original programming team produced content for a destination called Snap Channel, which was located within the app’s Discover section. Snap Channel was home to several original programs, including the web series Literally Can’t Even, but it struggled to attract fans. Literally Can’t Even, for example, was savaged by many of the critics who took the time to watch it.
The shuttering of Snap Channel has led to the departure of Marcus Wiley, a former FOX exec who Snapchat hired in May to oversee the app’s original content plans. According to Variety, Wiley led a team of 15 people at Snap Channel, and they’ve all been either laid off or reassigned.
While the demise of Snap Channel closes the book on Snapchat’s first foray in original programming, there is still a plethora of worthwhile content on the app. Since at least April, Snapchat has promoted Our Story, which uses user-generated Snaps to create collages from major events and cultural moments, as a major part of its pitch to advertisers. We can only assume the end of Snap Channel will cause Snapchat to allocate even more resources for Our Story. The app’s Discover section will still feature plenty of other channels as well, with new partners arriving regularly on the branded content hub.
Plus, as the rise and fall of YouTube’s Original Channels Initiative showed us, creating high-quality original content requires patience, resources, and a fair amount of trial-and-error experimentation. Snap Channel is on its way out, but it’s too early to known if Snapchat is done with original programming for good.