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Snapchat unveils new original shows to lure back users

Snapchat is hoping its new original content will help bring back former users and appeal to existing ones....

Posted: Oct 10, 2018 12:34 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2018 12:34 PM

Snapchat is hoping its new original content will help bring back former users and appeal to existing ones.

On Wednesday, the company unveiled its first collection of Snap Originals, including scripted programs and docuseries produced exclusively for the platform. The shows will include drama, mystery, horror and comedy.

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The company is partnering with popular social media stars such as Summer McKeen and Dylan Jordan and writers from hit TV shows such as "Riverdale" and "Friday Night Lights" for the programs. The shows are shareable and can be binge-watched, too.

The new programming includes "Co-Ed," which follows freshman college roommates as they navigate university life, and "Growing Up is a Drag," a coming-of-age drama about teen drag queens.

Nick Bell, Snap's VP of Content, said the new content is about engaging its current audience, but also attracting new users.

"If the programming really resonates with the demographic ... people will go in to school or the workplace, [and] they'll tell their friends about it," he told CNN Business' Samuel Burke. "We hope that will bring new people into the app."

Snap could use that boost. In its most recent quarter, Snapchat lost daily active users for the first time amid heightened competition from Instagram, which has copied many of its most popular features.

Instagram, owned by Facebook, says more than 400 million people now use its popular Stories feature each day, which lets users post and view photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. That's more than twice as popular as Snapchat's daily user base. Snapchat has 188 million daily active users, according to its latest earnings report.

Snap has also seen an exodus of executives over the past year. Just last week, the company said VP of Marketing Steve LaBella would be leaving the company. Other executives that have exited this year include Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan, Chief Financial Officer Drew Vollero and VP of product Tom Conrad. The company also hasn't had a chief operating officer since Emily White left the company in 2015.

With Snap Originals, Snapchat will also have to compete with other players like Netflix and Hulu, which also develop original content in addition to traditional TV and other digital platforms.

Bell says Snapchat is well positioned to bring quality content to people on mobile phones considering 3 billion Snaps are sent on the app every day.

"Really good mobile video content is cut vertically," he said. "It's very fast paced. It's hyper visual -- and that's really how Snapchatters are communicating. We've taken all of that data, all of the behaviors that have been developed by our audience, and turned it into a playbook."

To help it stand out, Snap is incorporating augmented reality into some of the new programs. For example, users can swipe up from an episode of the show and interact with the objects and characters via Snap's AR lenses.

"[You] can go on to the beach with [social media star] Summer McKeen, look around where she lives, see what it's like. Or with our scripted series, you'll be able to go around the crime scene to look for clues for yourself," Bell said.

Snapchat's most well-known lenses, or filters, give users bunny ears or flower crowns. But users can also flip the camera to augment the world around them and see digital objects on top of the real world.

The company's biggest challenge is capturing consumers' attention.

"People have a finite amount of time for watching programming and there are so many places to watch scripted shows now," said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at research firm eMarketer.

But Snapchat has an advantage because it's been a pioneer of original shows in the social space, and has strong engagement with younger users.

The company first launched Snapchat Shows two years ago with "Good Luck America," which focuses on US politics. Snap Shows are typically about five minutes long, shot in a vertical format and made for mobile.

Since then, Snap has added over 60 original series from partners like NBC, CBS, ESPN and the NBA. Snapchat says a number of its daily shows have seen success. For example, NBC News' twice-daily news broadcast called "Stay Tuned" reaches 5 million unique viewers each day, and Snap says its audience has doubled over the last year.

"Snapchat is one of the most creative and unique communications mediums, and there's a lot of benefit to that," said Williamson. "If it keeps executing and making smart moves, then things will turn around for the company."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 333626

Reported Deaths: 3843
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin700691145
Ramsey29459521
Dakota23564198
Anoka23541236
Washington14864125
Stearns14564125
St. Louis9549121
Scott896460
Wright847548
Olmsted714637
Sherburne618746
Clay529960
Carver509715
Kandiyohi440828
Rice432338
Blue Earth431217
Crow Wing383339
Otter Tail338925
Chisago334516
Benton322753
Nobles316032
Winona297832
Douglas283040
Mower274823
Polk271527
Morrison246731
McLeod233721
Lyon232812
Beltrami230718
Goodhue222932
Becker221521
Steele21038
Itasca206324
Isanti203917
Carlton201417
Todd190314
Nicollet172126
Mille Lacs164632
Freeborn16227
Le Sueur157012
Brown156115
Cass153511
Pine14498
Meeker144812
Waseca143411
Roseau13035
Martin124721
Hubbard119729
Wabasha11301
Redwood104620
Chippewa9808
Renville95530
Cottonwood9454
Dodge9311
Watonwan8944
Wadena8637
Sibley8404
Rock8249
Houston8004
Aitkin79930
Fillmore7690
Pipestone76518
Pennington7058
Yellow Medicine69612
Kanabec68614
Swift63610
Murray6124
Faribault6093
Pope5721
Clearwater55410
Marshall5459
Stevens5403
Jackson5321
Lake4518
Koochiching4216
Wilkin4175
Lac qui Parle4124
Lincoln3811
Unassigned38159
Norman3718
Big Stone3392
Mahnomen3225
Grant2986
Kittson2518
Red Lake2303
Traverse1531
Lake of the Woods1071
Cook800

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 237371

Reported Deaths: 2571
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34873347
Linn14787169
Scott1184692
Black Hawk11288147
Woodbury10763137
Johnson985939
Dubuque947999
Story701924
Pottawattamie682474
Dallas661260
Sioux383829
Webster378339
Cerro Gordo373252
Marshall360950
Clinton345645
Buena Vista316614
Muscatine305172
Des Moines300623
Warren294115
Plymouth287044
Wapello265072
Jones237118
Jasper231546
Lee228719
Marion211922
Carroll204325
Bremer202713
Henry19367
Crawford183116
Benton175423
Tama157442
Jackson151117
Washington150216
Delaware147621
Dickinson145812
Boone144912
Mahaska133928
Wright13107
Clay12505
Buchanan123410
Hardin122812
Hamilton119514
Page11925
Kossuth11768
Clayton115510
Cedar114614
Harrison113432
Floyd111921
Mills11129
Calhoun10987
Fayette109812
Lyon10769
Butler10748
Winneshiek105513
Poweshiek103714
Iowa101414
Cherokee9674
Winnebago96325
Chickasaw9195
Hancock9138
Sac9068
Louisa90122
Grundy89514
Allamakee88413
Cass84725
Union8437
Mitchell8429
Appanoose81613
Humboldt8125
Shelby80511
Emmet79026
Guthrie78315
Franklin76421
Jefferson7635
Madison7265
Unassigned7090
Palo Alto6744
Keokuk6567
Pocahontas6024
Howard5859
Ida54915
Osceola5461
Greene5422
Montgomery51411
Clarke5064
Davis4839
Taylor4833
Monona4567
Adair4539
Monroe45113
Worth3881
Fremont3823
Van Buren3815
Decatur3410
Lucas3416
Audubon3112
Wayne3087
Ringgold2432
Adams1812
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