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Snap and NBCUniversal Form a Studio to Produce Mobile Only TV Shows

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Snap (the parent company of Snapchat) has been having a hard time getting new people to its service.  Which might be why they are teaming up with NBCUniversal in order to produce content for entertainment – specifically on apps.    This is kind of interesting, isn’t it?  I mean, from an entertainment perspective, social media companies are getting into the business.  And not just social media companies, but tech giants as well.  Netflix has sort of been the pioneer in this regard, but their foray into the original content business kind of makes sense.  But you’ve got Facebook investing money into creating original content, and now Snap.  I’m not complaining, but I just wonder at what point we draw the line?

The company, which hasn’t been named yet, will be half owned by NBCUniversal and half by Snap.  Their first big score is landing independent filmmakers, Jay and Mark Duplass as their first creative partners.  If you’re not familiar with the Duplass brothers, you should check out their body of work – it’s incredible.  But I am an indie film fan, so perhaps I’m a bit biased with this one.

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And why is this suddenly becoming so popular?  Well, mobile is the new medium.  I mean, its how I watch a portion of TV and I can’t be the only one taking advantage of the ability to be mobile. Both companies adhere to the idea that entertainment for mobile platforms needs to be produced differently than for traditional venues. Why is Snap getting into this business?  The short answer is money.  But the reason they chose to move forward with the deal is that Snapchat has 173 million active daily users.  How can this go wrong?  I mean that’s a huge audience, isn’t it?  And the only audience with more active daily users is Instagram, so will be in the market next?

Mark Duplass told Variety that they have about 6 different show ideas across genres.  The first series is set to debut in 2018, with each episode being about 8-10 minutes.  This is what I don’t like about the whole thing.  Yes, I love the idea that you can watch shows in a mobile setting. And I’m even on board with the fact that a company like Snapchat is in the game.  But I can’t handle a short episode.  Maybe it’s the idea that I like to be immersed in a show.  I have even gotten used to 20-minute episodes (without commercials).  I don’t love them, but I am at least used to them.  I’m not sure I can handle an 8 or 10-minute episode.

I will give this a chance, but I don’t feel like you can really get into a storyline.  How many episodes will there be in a season?  I am not naive to think that they’re only shooting the 10-minute storyline and then shooting the next the following day.  It’s an editing tool, but I still am not really supportive of it.  And maybe I’m not the right demographic for this.  I am deliberate about my TV watching.  In that, I have a specific show in mind that I want to watch, and I sit down and watch it.  This is likely going to be geared towards people already using the Snapchat app (or maybe a new app?) which will then direct them to the show.  It’s an interesting concept, and I like it in principle, but I’m not a fan of the short episodes.

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