LIVE FROM MIPCOM 2017, CANNES: Mobile video is a great complement to traditional ways of watching television and, if positioned correctly, can help drive viewership numbers for TV programmes.
So explained Sean Mills, head of original content at Snap – the camera company behind the Snapchat messaging and content sharing application which has 173 million daily active users globally.
In a keynote session, Mills explained the popularity of Snapchat, particularly among younger people, is driven by its focus on storytelling through ephemeral visual content, with the camera placed firmly at the centre of the app.
“It’s a unique approach,” said Mills, adding Snapchat benefits from offering something very different to other social media platforms: “It’s about a deep engagement with your close friends,” he said.
Snapchat now offers premium content formats including Our Stories and Publisher Stories, and also formed partnerships with media companies including ABC, the BBC, NBC and others to produce original, short-format shows tied to TV programmes, including The Voice on Snapchat and Planet Earth II
During MIPCOM, Snap took its mobile content creation strategy a step further by joining forces with NBC Universal to create a new 50:50 digital content studio joint venture which will produce made-for-mobile programming for Snapchat.
The initial focus will be to develop and produce short-format programmes, including scripted shows, for the platform.
Lauren Anderson, NBC Entertainment’s SVP of prime-time programming, was appointed CCO for the as-yet unnamed digital content studio joint venture. She said the ambition is to “take mobile programming to the next level, creating compelling shows for both viewers and advertisers.” The new venture also signed its first deal with indie filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass, founders of Donut Studios and creators of HBO series Room 104 and Togetherness.
Mark Duplass, creative director at Donut Studios, pointed to one of the most difficult aspects of producing content for mobile devices: “For us, shooting in that vertical mobile format is a terrifying and thrilling creative challenge,” he said.
Snap’s Mills stressed Snapchat’s fundamental approach to mobile content creation remains the same: “We love scarcity,” he said.
“We love the idea of 1970s TV and bringing a large number of people to a small amount of content…We believe that mobile is a fundamentally new medium…It’s not just another screen.”
– Anne Morris, contributing reporter to Mobile World Live