Snapchat has seen some success with the content it has shared under its Snapchat Shows banner, and it plans to diversify its programming by the end of the year. Speaking at a festival in Scotland, the app’s VP of content Nick Bell said that users will likely see scripted, original content at some point in 2017.
The existing shows distributed by Snapchat are predominantly unscripted, and many of them are linked to content on other platforms. One hit, for example, has been a companion to the NBC competition series The Voice.
In recent months, Snapchat has made clear its intention to offer scripted shows to its users as well. Among other content deals, it inked a $100 million agreement with Time Warner that will result in ten shows, including both comedies and dramas. Variety noted that the content Snapchat will share will not stray too far from its sweet spot in terms of runtime, with many individual episodes coming in at three to five minutes in length. “We’re still in early stages, and that certainly bodes well for the future,” Bell said.
This will not be Snapchat’s first foray into scripted programming. Back in 2015, it released Literally Can’t Even, a comedy that was savaged by critics. The division that worked on that show was ultimately shuttered later the same year.
That said, we have seen some compelling scripted shows on Snapchat, including the plucky superhero series SnapperHero. As Snapchat is turning to its partners to finance much of its new programming, its run of scripted originals could prove to be a cost-effective way to attract users and dig itself out of the rut it seems to be in at the moment. If Bell’s timeline is accurate, we’ll know more before the end of the year.