With Snapchat engagement on the decline, it’s looking for ways to keep people on the app, and hoping (again) that original content might do the trick.
Snap Originals, introduced today, are five-minute, exclusive shows that will feature new episodes every day.
Shows include: Co-Ed, a comedy from the Duplass Brothers (who made the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country); Class of Lies, a Riverdale–esque mystery thriller; and Endless Summer, a reality show from the makers of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which will track rising stars in California’s Laguna Beach.
On Oct. 22, Snap Originals will debut Vivian, a docuseries featuring model scout Vivian Benitez, and supernatural soap The Dead Girls Detective Agency. Horror anthology V/H/S will be added on Oct. 28.
Originals can be found in the Discover section of the app or via Snapchat search. Though Snapchat content is intended to disappear after a certain amount of time, these series will not, the Los Angeles Times reports. In keeping with the format of Snapchat, they will be shot vertically and feature two or three unskippable ads, sold by Snap or the show’s producers, TechCrunch says.
With a feature called Show Portals, you can also swipe up to “step inside a scene from a Show to experience it for yourself.” Snap will also offer show-specific Lenses and Filters to help get the word out.
According to TechCrunch, some shows will be funded by Snap, some by production studios, and some by both. The company doesn’t have a ton of cash to go around; an analyst from MoffetNathanson says Snap is expected to lose more than $1.5 billion in 2019, according to Bloomberg.
This is not new territory for the app, though. In 2015, it debuted Literally Can’t Even from writers Sasha Spielberg and Emily Goldwyn—the daughters of Steven Spielberg and John Goldwyn, respectively—episodes of which were also just a few minutes long. That didn’t go anywhere, but as The Verge notes, there are approximately 60 shows on Discover from content partners. NBC News’ Stay Tuned and the Snapchat version of ESPN’s SportsCenter are most popular.
Snap has some competition from Instagram’s IGTV and Facebook Watch, though neither is really setting the social world on fire. As of August, 6 percent of US Facebook users logged on to Facebook Watch every day, but 50 percent had never even heard of the service, Statista says.