Snapchat to debut its own weekly series, partners with Funny or Die

Snapchat evolving from tech start-up into a digital media company

Snapchat isn’t just a Los Angeles technology start-up these days. It’s also a media production company, and one that counts a Spielberg and a Goldwyn on its crew.

On Saturday, Snapchat plans to debut a weekly, five-minute show called “Literally Can’t Even.” Millennials utter that phrase when stunned into disbelief by something funny, scary or frustrating.

Technology giants such as Google and Yahoo have been split over the years over whether to get into the business of producing media for the hubs they’ve built for consumers to watch, listen and read other people’s content. But the move into content-making this week by a young start-up that began with a single-function photo-messaging app has drawn plenty of “can’t evens.”

Snapchat’s online series will follow the lives of Sasha Spielberg and Emily Goldwyn -- daughters of film producers Steven Spielberg and John Goldwyn, respectively. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the development.

On Friday, Snapchat released a new weekly series made in partnership with online content studio Funny or Die. It’s called “You’re Welcome” and is expected to be hosted by a number of personalities, with Betsy Koch as the show runner and Dashiell Driscoll as the head writer.

Both series are accessible through the Discover page that was introduced on Snapchat’s app earlier this week.

“You’re Welcome” is a comedic recap of topics that were popular on the Internet over the previous few days. Funny or Die isn’t being paid to produce the show, though money-making opportunities could be discussed in the future, said Patrick Starzan, Funny or Die's vice president of marketing and distribution.

Funny or Die accepted Snapchat’s invitation to become involved, welcoming it as the latest medium for experimentation, Starzan said. Social media apps have traditionally been seen as places to share links and draw people back to Web pages for the entire video. But Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, among others, are introducing new video tools to make consumption happen on their own apps. 

“Snapchat is a great example of where we are shifting our thinking around social media,” Starzan said. “It’s testing the water of that strategy.”

Discover includes content from 11 large media brands, including Food Network and People magazine. Outside of the U.S., content from Comedy Central, ESPN and Warner Music Group is replaced by a mix that includes MTV, news website Fusion and sports news service Bleacher Report. Globally, all of the content is only in English for now.

Beside the original video series, Snapchat is also producing articles that read like those of the news websites BuzzFeed. Friday’s picks included a photo essay about a Brooklyn butchery.

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