Snapchat talks with Hollywood about bringing shows to the platform

Snapchat Discover is going Hollywood. The messaging and media app is out looking for deals with major networks and studios that would transform the Discover section, where publishers like People and Cosmopolitan and Refinery29 host daily channels.

Snapchat is in talks with top TV networks and studios to host shows on Discover, according to sources. Snapchat also is working with the NFL on a Discover channel, and talking to other leagues, sources familiar with those talks confirmed. Mashable reported earlier this week on the NFL talks.

Snapchat is sending Nick Bell, its head of content, to do the negotiating to lure more talent to Discover, according to one source. Snapchat wants to see Discover evolve from its roots as a publishing destination, where players like BuzzFeed and Cosmopolitan post articles and web videos, into more of a premium video destination.

“There is a lot of talk around doing shows and bringing in Hollywood, but the question is how to make money from it,” said one source familiar with Snapchat’s pitch to networks.

Snapchat is holding up its channel called “Good Luck America,” a running political news program following the presidential campaign, as an example of what the networks could do with shows there. Snapchat wants networks to create similar original programming, including scripted content. Snapchat dipped into scripted shows when it first launched Discover in early 2015, but stopped producing them when it shut down its in-house channel.

It’s unclear what impact more networks and studios would have on other Discover partners, a list that already includes Comedy Central, ESPN and MTV.

Discover is in the middle of an overhaul, it was recently redesigned and now runs alongside special Live Stories pop-up channels, which feature user-generated videos from popular events. Discover publishers like Vox Media and Univision recently stopped running daily channels and are retooling their strategies on the platform.

Snapchat declined to comment for this story.

Snapchat is asking for guarantees from network partners that they can sell a certain amount of ads, which they will split. Snapchat can guarantee millions of viewers if the networks and studios bring the advertisers, a source said.

The minimums could add up to a lot, however, because if Snapchat guarantees 30 million views at 3 cents a view for an ad — $30 CPMs — that’s a $1 million commitment, the source said. Discover publishers have faced similar demands from Snapchat and some have said the ad minimums are too burdensome.

Snapchat is taking a different approach from rival Facebook, which has been writing checks to get major media companies to post videos, especially live ones, to the social network. Snapchat, however, is setting a high value for its services for advertisers and publishers.

Snapchat now has 150 million daily users, and generates billions of video views. BuzzFeed has said more than 20 percent of its video views come from Snapchat Discover.

“The war right now is for original destination content and Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all are behind YouTube in having destination personalities and content in digital video,” said Noah Mallin, head of social at MEC North America. “They know that the next step is to have content that people can only find and largely associate with their platforms.”

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