Why TV Networks Should Care About Snapchat Shows (and 3 Brands Who Are Doing It Right)

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From NBC, ABC, and Discovery to A&E, VICE, and MTV, networks across the board are flocking to Snapchat to create original episodic content and repackage existing TV shows into snackable snippets. There are the obvious reasons for investing time and resources into Snapchat –– not only is it cheaper to produce a show, it also allows networks to target younger audiences in new and creative ways.

If it seems like a no brainer, it’s because it is.

Here are 3 reasons why networks should consider investing in a short-form content strategy on Snapchat:

  1. It complements traditional programming
    Snapchat isn’t looking to recreate the traditional TV model. At the end of the day, consuming content on a jumbo flat screen TV will always trump a smartphone or a tablet. Moral of the story? M&E execs should view Snapchat as an extension of traditional TV, not a replacement for it. Take Disney-ABC’s Watch Party: The Bachelor, for example. Corresponding with each episode of the 2017 series, the weekly Snapchat show featured a rotating cast of Bachelor enthusiasts who cozied up on a couch to discuss the latest and greatest storylines of the week. Not only did Snapchat content allow the network to reach Bachelor fans in an entirely new way, they also received a 15 percent boost in audience viewership.

  1. It allows you to create immersive experiences
    Last August, NBC debuted The Voice on Snapchat, offering engaging storytelling beyond the broadcast. To say the Snap show has been a success is an understatement; they picked up a 2017 Emmy nomination for creative achievement in interactive media within an unscripted program. And it’s easy to see why –– the entirety of the show was centered around connecting with their passionate fan base, allowing them to directly submit user-generated videos to then be judged by the show’s producers and coaches.

  1. It makes content that much more accessible
    In today’s volatile landscape of constantly breaking news, networks have to quickly evolve and adapt to latest trends in technology if they want to remain relevant. As more and more young people turn to social media to obtain the news, shows like CNN’s The Update, which just launched this summer on Snapchat, are so crucial. Focusing on four to five major headlines of the day, easy-to-digest nuggets of news can be easily accessed at any time and from anywhere –– something that is especially critical for the many millennials who have turned to cord cutting and skinny bundles.
    ****As of January 2018, CNN has pulled the plug on its Snapchat show The Update — only four months after its debut on the Discover platform.


Quite possibly the biggest question for TV networks is not whether they’re going to tap into the endless creative power that is Snapchat stories, but how they’re going to manage the distribution and monetization of short-form content. Only time will tell.

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