NBC forms scripted programming joint venture with Snapchat

In March, NBCUniversal put a $500 million strategic investment into Snap’s IPO.

NBCUniversal and Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, are reportedly forming a joint venture to develop and produce scripted content for the ephemeral messaging service.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, company executives confirmed the move and said that both NBC and Snap will get equal equity stakes in the business. Maggie Suniewick, president of NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, told the publication that other platforms just want access to clips from existing NBC shows but Snapchat is pushing to create “something new and different for different audiences.”

Earlier this summer, NBC News launched a twice-daily news program called “Stay Tuned” on Snapchat. But the two companies’ ties go back further than that.

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In March, NBCUniversal put a $500 million strategic investment into Snap’s IPO. NBCU CEO Steve Burke called the Snap investment part of the company’s strategy to invest in digital growth, which includes NBCU’s recent $400 million investment in BuzzFeed and $200 million investment in Vox.

“I am proud of the strides we have made in the digital space recently. With the Snap investment, we have invested over $1.5 billion in promising digital businesses in the last 18 months. Importantly, we have become a better, more digitally-focused company as a result,” wrote Burke in the memo obtained by Variety.

Before that capital injection, NBC and Snapchat had been working on original content together, which included supplemental coverage around the 2016 Summer Olympics, a spinoff of the “The Voice,” and a live show called “The Rundown” on E!, a cable network owned by Comcast/NBCU.

Last summer, Nick Bell, vice president of content at Snapchat, hinted that scripted shows would begin showing up on Snapchat this year. He stressed that the mobile-first scripted content on Snapchat would be different from traditional TV shows, and likely much shorter in length—about three to five minutes per episode.