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  • Writer's pictureRogier Visser, Founder Roundabout social

Snapchat’s plan to reinvent TV may actually be working

Snap says people like shows, so it’s launching a dozen more.

Snapchat’s experiment to create the future of television with vertical shows for mobile phones isn’t a failure. It may even be a success. Or at least enough of one to keep going.

That’s the general takeaway from Snap’s announcement on Wednesday that the company is launching a new slate of 12 original, “serialized” shows for its Discover section — what it’s calling “Snap Originals.”

Think of these shows like a television series, with scripts and storylines that carry through episode by episode. Unlike TV, though, Snapchat’s new shows are filmed for Snapchat — vertically, for your phone, with episodes lasting four or five minutes.

Snapchat already has shows: Partners like NBC, ESPN and E! have been making short TV-like episodes for Snapchat’s Discover section for a few years. Most of those, though, were unscripted or news-focused. (Snapchat also experimented with a comedy in 2014.) Now Snapchat wants to bring serialized dramas into the mix, and is working with outside production companies to create them.

Why? Because a lot of people are watching the shows Snapchat already has, says Snap’s VP of Original Content Sean Mills — enough that the company sees value in creating even more of them.

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