NBCUniversal and Snap Inc. today announced that they have joined forces to create a new digital content studio. Based in Santa Monica, California, this joint venture will make made-for-mobile programming to primarily debut on Snapchat. The initial focus will be to develop and produce Shows, including scripted and other genres, for the platform. NBCUniversal and Snap Inc. have equal equity stakes in the new venture.
Lauren Anderson has been named Chief Content Officer for the digital content studio. Anderson, a veteran of NBC Entertainment, brings a wealth of creative experience to the role. Most recently, Anderson was Senior Vice President of Primetime Programming at NBC where she developed and/or oversaw scripted series including Parks and Recreation, The Office, The Carmichael Show, and The Good Place. As Chief Content Officer, Anderson will work with creative talent from across the industry while continuing to collaborate with talent from the NBC Entertainment network and studio families under the strategic guidance of Jennifer Salke, President of NBC Entertainment.
As part of today’s launch, NBCUniversal and Snap also announced that the joint venture’s first deal will be with the Duplass Brothers’ creative shop, Donut. Mark and Jay Duplass founded Donut Studios earlier this year to collaborate with platforms and brands to create entertainment content, in addition to championing the talent and ideas of a new generation of filmmakers by executive producing projects that bring new creators forward (as they did with their hit animated show Animals on HBO). Between them, they have produced, written, directed and acted in numerous film and TV series, including the recent HBO series, Togetherness and Room 104
"NBCUniversal is proud to have been Snap’s first partner to create Shows, and we’ve seen consistent audience growth and engagement on the platform," said Maggie Suniewick, President, NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises. "This digital content studio is an extension of our already strong partnership and an opportunity to develop new IP and franchises for a mobile-first audience."
"We see scripted as the next exciting chapter to dive into, and are thrilled to be charting this path with NBCUniversal, who have been amazing collaborators from the start, and with the leadership of Lauren, who has a fantastic track record in this space," said Sean Mills, Head of Original Content for Snap Inc." We’re huge fans of Mark and Jay, and can’t wait to see how they bring their innovative storytelling to Snapchat."
"As mobile audiences continue to grow, we’re excited to expand the type of content we can develop," said Anderson. "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."
"We're super psyched to partner with Snap and NBCUniversal." said Mark Duplass, Creative Director, Donut. "For us, shooting in that vertical mobile format is a terrifying and thrilling creative challenge. We’ll try not to f&*% it up."
Last September, Snap Inc. first launched a new format on its Discover platform: Shows – mobile TV-like content filmed for Snapchat in the way viewers like to consume premium content on mobile. NBCUniversal was Snap’s first partner for Shows, and led the way in reimagining TV franchises for the mobile experience with the launch of The Voice on Snapchat, which was recently nominated for an Emmy award. Since then, NBCUniversal has worked with Snap to develop and produce a number of Shows across a variety of genres, including entertainment news (E!’s The Rundown) and the first daily news Show for Snapchat (NBC News’ Stay Tuned).
NBCUniversal also developed Discover content produced by BuzzFeed for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which generated over two billion views throughout the Games. NBC Sports will expand their partnership with Snapchat and BuzzFeed for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. Additionally, NBCUniversal made a strategic investment of $500 million in Snap Inc. as part of its initial public offering.