I want my Snapchat TV: MTV is launching Discover shows

Snapchat Discover publishers are heeding Snapchat’s call to make the media platform more like TV.

On the international version of its Snapchat Discover channel, MTV is launching three new video series this fall. The first, which launched on Sept. 29, is a game show called “Show Us Ur Phone,” in which host Charlotte Crosby ambushes couples on the street and goes through their phones. Two other shows, “MTV Sex Squad” and “MTV Threads,” are premiering in October. “Sex Squad” features vlogger Grace Victory as she interviews guests and dispenses advice about sex. “Threads” is a five-minute series that will interview musicians like DNCE and Zara Larsson about their fashion choices.

MTV’s decision to create these video series for Snapchat stemmed from conversations the network had with the social messaging app about doing more shows for Discover, said Joanna Wells, vp of digital for MTV International. “We have been on the platform since the beginning and our content has evolved a lot,” she said. “We’re now looking at engaging the audience by doing more recurring shows.”

Snapchat has been courting TV networks and production studios to help make Discover, which for most of its history has functioned like a magazine rack, into a destination for original video series. In the U.S., Snapchat struck a deal with NBCUniversal to create multiple series based on popular NBC programs like “The Voice,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Tonight Show” and “E! News.”

Existing Discover publishers are following suit. In the U.K., Bleacher Report partnered with digital network Copa90 to create a weekly soccer series called “Saturdays Are Lit,” which airs on Bleacher Report’s Discover channel. In the U.S., Discover partners like Refinery29 have pitched show ideas to Snapchat’s head of content, Nick Bell.

Unlike NBCUniversal, MTV is rolling out its video series inside the international Discover channel, which gets “millions” of views every day, the company said. On launch days, the series will be the first tile in the channel, taking advantage of Snapchat Discover’s redesigned format that spotlights content within the daily editions. Following the premiere episode, new episodes will typically be available within the first few snaps of the daily edition.

In total, MTV International has eight to 10 episodes planned for each video series, with episodes running between three and five minutes. Two of the shows, “Show Us Ur Phone” and “MTV Threads,” are produced in partnership with outside production houses Gobstopper Television and Remedy. The series are also shot with a three-camera setup with one camera tilted to account for vertical video. The other cameras were horizontal, so these shows could be distributed on other social platforms at a later time. “It’s a lot harder than it sounds,” Wells said.

MTV International has six other series in development that will roll out over the next six months or so.

Going forward, it’s planning to bring more of the production in-house. “We’re actually staffing up in that area,” Wells said.

Today, Wells’ team has 20 staffers spanning writing, production, design and other digital specialties. Two producers are tasked with putting each international Snapchat Discover edition together, though the total number of people who have a hand in Snapchat content is about seven or eight. (In the U.S., MTV has a separate 10-person team dedicated to Snapchat Discover.)

“To do Snapchat Discover well requires the right amount of resources,” said Wells. “You want to be constantly evolving and creating content that is changing with the medium, so you need about that many people.”