TV Shows Come to Snapchat

Snapchat was once a place for teens to send photos and videos that would disappear within 10 seconds. Now it’s featuring TV shows like you’ve never seen before.

Snapchat, the popular communications app whose parent Snap is set to go public in March with a $25 billion IPO, is ambitiously expanding beyond photos and videos that disappear within 10 seconds. The company is bankrolling the production of original “shows” for the platform, from the likes of Disney’s ABC, NBC-Universal and Turner networks, which includes TBS and Adult Swim.

And like Snapchat, they are designed for short attention spans. The shows zip along at a fast pace, with lots of graphics, headlines and upbeat music—they go so quickly they almost make TV seem like slothful.

It’s yet one more way Snap is trying to keep its 150 million daily users engaged. Some 60% of Snapchat’s users are aged 13-34, according to Comscore, a demographic that’s highly sought by advertisers. Even before the advent of Snapchat shows and its Discover platform, users flocked to Snapchat after school and during the evenings to tell and watch their own Stories — annotated snippets of their day — creating a vibrant, though short-lived entertainment platform that rivaled prime-time television and more established social networks, Facebook and Twitter.

Snap wants to give these users more to watch, in that same rough-and-ready style.

The Snapchat Discover platform, which debuted in January 2015, is a way for users to watch short, flashy original content from publishers such as Cosmopolitan, People magazine and BuzzFeed.

Now come the “shows.” The new ABC Watch Party: the Bachelor series, which runs on Tuesdays, is two programs at once. It’s produced in vertical video, like holding a phone upright, with clips from the previous night’s episode of the dating reality series The Bachelor on the bottom of the screen. On top: a trio of fans on top sitting around the couch offering their opinions of the show.

Watch Party moves along at a Snapchat like fast-forward speed, and before you know it, you’ve watched two commercials and the show, and it’s all over. Like the photos and videos that get snapped and shared on Snapchat, the Watch Party episode disappears within 24 hours. There’s no archive of past episodes available for viewing online, as with other mediums.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Jefferson Graham