NBCUniversal and Snap Inc. have formed a production studio that will create programming designed for viewing on mobile devices, the companies announced Tuesday.
Most of the content developed by the joint venture will debut on Snapchat, the social media and messaging service that already carries a twice daily newscast produced by NBC News called “Stay Tuned.” The newscast, aimed at the millennials who make up the bulk of Snapchat's audience, drew 29 million unique viewers in its first month.
Writer-producers Mark and Jay Duplass, whose credits include the HBO series “Togetherness,” have signed on as the first creators for the new studio venture. The brothers recently formed a company called Donut Studios with the intent of supplying scripted programs for new platforms.
Along with “Stay Tuned,” NBCUniversal has developed a number of programs for Snapchat, as advertisers are seeking to reach younger viewers who are not easily reached by conventional broadcast and cable TV services.
The NBCUniversal-Snap studio will be run by Lauren Anderson, who previously served as senior vice president of prime-time programming for NBC Entertainment. The studio will be based in Santa Monica.
“As mobile audiences continue to grow, we’re excited to expand the type of content we can develop,” Anderson said in a statement announcing the deal. “By combining the best-in-class creative expertise of NBCUniversal with the broad digital reach of Snapchat, we have the unique ability to take mobile programming to the next level, creating compelling shows for both viewers and advertisers.”
Snapchat reached 173 million users worldwide in the second quarter this year, according to the Los Angeles firm.
NBCUniversal made a $500-million investment in Snap as part of the company's initial public offering. NBCUniversal also used Snapchat as a platform to distribute Olympics-related content created by the digital media company BuzzFeed during the 2016 Summer Games. The companies will resume the partnership during the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.