Snap happy

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You might know Snapchat as the app that let users ‘snap’ ten second videos that disappeared like magic once viewed. Now it's changing the way we watch TV. 

Snapchat was the platform du jour for celebrities and millennials just a few years ago but with falling numbers, and competition from Instagram and Facebook, the company has looked to diversify. And seems to have ushered in a new era of mobile entertainment as a result!

Two years ago it began partnering with big media names including NBC, Viacom and sporting bodies such as the NBA and the NFL. It also dipped its toe into creating content with political commentary docuseries Good Luck America with Peter Hamby.

Now it’s stepping up a gear with the announcement of twelve new original shows. Snap Originals is a mix of scripted and reality shows that will roll out over the next few months. They’re all created to suit the format: they’re shot vertically, and average five minutes in length.

As this is social media, there are added bells and whistles too. Graphics, split screens and quick cuts abound and it uses portal lenses which mean you can ‘step into’ the show and get enhanced elements. There will be new episodes daily and each series will be about 8 to 12 episodes long.

There is some serious weight behind the productions too with established producers and writers working on content. Diversity is big on and off screen. College drama Co-Ed features a majority LGBTQ-inclusive cast and crew; Dead Girls Detective Agency has a predominately female cast and crew and Class of Lies features young women using STEM skills to solve crime.

Not convinced that the format works? The numbers suggest it does. NBC News' twice daily Stay Tuned news show doubled its audience in the last year and reaches 5 million unique viewers per day. And daily show from sports channel ESPN’s reaches over 17 million US views a month.

Snap Originals have started rolling out this month, with more to be announced. 

With a snap of the fingers, it seems the future of tv may have arrived. 

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