HBO Max Brings Free Original Content Episodes to Snapchat

HBO Max and Snapchat July 20 announced a partnership whereby users of the social media platform in the U.S. can watch select episodes of Max programming virtually alongside their friends for free through Snap Minis — Snap’s platform for shared videos.

Max is the first major streamer to build a platform to bring full-length episodes to Snapchat. The HBO Max Mini launches instantly in Snapchat with no installation required, offers age-appropriate episodes based on the user’s age, and is available on iOS and Android.

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Through Snapchat’s HBO Max Snap Mini, users can watch a selection of content from the Max catalog through shared playback, while chatting and sharing Bitmoji reactions. This partnership provides an additional avenue for people to congregate around and forge meaningful relationships with culture-defining shows.

“Our partnership with Snapchat is another step towards fulfilling that desire for human connection and providing our fans with co-viewing opportunities, while deepening their emotional relationship with the brand,” Sarah Lyons, EVP of direct-to-consumer global product management for HBO Max, said in a statement. “We believe humans value recommendations that come from other humans, so having the opportunity for friends to suggest, and then subsequently watch content together paves the way for more meaningful discovery.”

Upon entering the Max Mini platform on Snapchat, users will be required to enter their birthdate to access a curated collection of free, age-appropriate pilot episodes. Viewers can then invite up to 63 other “Snapchatters” by sending an in-chat message with a link to join the Mini, or by sending a clickable sticker link with the image of the show via Snap’s camera. Once the shared users are in the Mini with their group, they can watch an episode through synchronized playback together, chat and share Bitmoji reactions throughout the show.

Following each episode, users 18 years and older will be presented with the option to go to Max to subscribe, continue watching the series and explore the entire catalog. Max costs $14.99 monthly without ads; $9.99 with advertising.

At launch, pilot episodes (Season 1, Episode 1) available on the Max Mini include “Craftopia,” “Euphoria,” “The Flight Attendant,” “Game of Thrones,” “Genera+ion,” “Gossip Girl,” “Looney Tunes,” “Love Life,” “Lovecraft Country,” “Selena + Chef,” “Titans,” “Warrior,” “World of Calm” and “Betty.”

“Snap Minis offer a new way for HBO Max to create social experiences for fans of its programming, complementing our incredible Snap Originals and partnered content available on Discover,” said Alston Cheek, director of platform partnerships.

Report: Pandemic Fuels Social Media Entertainment

The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be boost for more than subscription and ad-supported VOD as millions of people stayed home for weeks or months entertained by social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

A new report from eMarketer found that in 2020 there were nearly 150 million more social network users worldwide than previously projected. Social media users topped 3.23 billion this year as nearly 81% of Internet users worldwide were classified as social network users.

China reportedly is home to the world’s largest population of social network users — about 889.5 million people and 97.3% of all Internet users. That’s up 7% compared with 2019. eMarketer had projected 4.8% growth in 2020, which it said translates to more than 58 million new social network users in China in 2020.

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Among social networking platforms, eMarketer said Facebook would continue to dominate globally through the end of 2024. It remains the only platform used by more than half (59%) of the world’s social networking population. The pandemic has helped to revitalize a relatively sluggish platform, which will post 8.7% growth in global user numbers in 2020. Facebook’s total user numbers will surpass 1.90 billion — about 100 million more than eMarketer projected. Interestingly, Facebook is losing users in Germany and Japan.

Facebook-owned Instagram saw the biggest percentage increase of any platform worldwide, increasing its user base by 22.9%. The total number of users exceeded 1 billion for the first time in 2020.

Snapchat saw its global user base increase by 16.1%, which eMarketer attributed to ongoing issues surrounding social video competitor TikTok — the latter now banned in India.

While a mainstay in the U.S. and for President Trump, Twitter is used much less than Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, according to eMarketer. The research firm pegs 8.4% growth for Twitter in 2020, contending growth is largely due to to the platform’s “starring role” as a source for up-to-the-minute, bite-sized news and opinions in a year that has been “highly volatile politically, socially and economically.”

Head of Hulu Ad Sales Departs for Snap

Peter Naylor

Snap Inc. April 9 named Peter Naylor VP of Americas, spearheading business operations for social media platform Snapchat and other properties in North America and Mexico.

Naylor, a former Media Play News Digital Driver, most recently led advertising sales at Hulu. He reports to former Amazon Prime Video head of sales Jeremi Gorman in New York.

Naylor spent six years at Hulu, joining the SVOD when it was co-owned by NBCUniversal parent Comcast. He was EVP of digital sales at NBCU.

In 2018, Naylor helped make select Hulu content available for download, enabling subscribers to watch content offline — an industry first.

“With downloadable content, we’re offering brands more ways to connect with engaged viewers who love the experience of watching television, wherever they may be,” Naylor said at the time.

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Naylor is the second executive to leave Hulu after CEO Randy Freer departed following Disney’s consolidation last May as sole corporate owner. Hulu’s ad sales are now headed by Rita Ferro, Disney’s president of advertising sales, while former Hulu CMO Kelly Campbell was promoted to president of the SVOD.

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Social Media Ups Original Video Content Orders

Social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are increasing forays into original video content to better compete against Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+.

Since the middle of 2018, YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat have commissioned more than 200 digital originals, according to new data from Ampere Analysis. Short-form video platform Quibi is launching in 2020 with 80 scripted and unscripted titles in development.

With 58 shows in production, Ampere says Facebook Watch is the second largest commissioner of unscripted content globally after the BBC. Snapchat rivals HBO and National Geographic with 22 commissioned unscripted shows currently in production.

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Despite the number of commissions, there still aren’t enough to offset the challenging economics of digital-first production, according to Ampere. Timing and the unpredictability of commissioning activity is a major concern for smaller digital studios, impacting cash flow and investment opportunity.

As a result, the London-based research firm says social media platforms have adopted hybrid business strategies, which include branded video, secondary rights sales influencer marketing, and direct control of ad sales against content distributed by via their own social media channels.

“Fast-paced technological developments and shifting consumer trends mean that diversification of business models and revenue streams is key to ensuring stability in a volatile marketplace,” analyst Henry Beckwith said in a statement.

Ampere’s analysis indicates that of current shows commissioned in the first half of 2019 for Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Quibi, less than 10% were being made in Europe. But the tide may be turning. Facebook has more recently begun to diversify. Its latest commissions are Western European-focused, with the U.K. and Germany emerging hubs for the social media group.

“Digital studios that have greater control over their IP can maximize income and margins, which can then be used to drive growth in other areas of the business,” Beckwith said.

Snapchat Streaming New Original Content

Snapchat Sept. 26 announced its new slate of original programming for the social media platform.

The move comes as original production efforts are ramping up among pending over-the-top video services Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and NBC Universal’s Peacock.

New series include a range of genres, including character-driven docuseries, unscripted shows, and serialized scripted dramas, thrillers, comedies and more.

Over the past year, Snap said time spent watching shows on the platform more than tripled, with total daily time spent by Snapchatters watching Discover increased by over 60%, while the number of daily viewers grew by 35%.

In the U.S., Snapchat reaches 90% of all 13-24 year-olds and 75% of all 13-34 year-olds.

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Snap is partnering with Paul Feig’s Powderkeg, Complex, Sirens Media, and Leftfield Pictures. In addition, musician Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) will serve as producer and music supervisor, bringing new music to the new scripted series “Everything’s Fine.”

The slate includes:

“Tekashi69 VS The World” – a docuseries tracing the rise and fall of controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, from his earliest days growing up in Brooklyn, through his chart-topping career and star-studded collaborations, to his trouble with the FBI and eventual incarceration.

“VS The World” explores the life and journey of some of the biggest names in hip hop, sports, and entertainment culture, with exclusive footage, commentary, and a totally original perspective.

“Nikita Unfiltered” follows transgender beauty mogul Nikita Dragun as she reveals a vulnerable new side to herself that her millions of fans haven’t yet seen as she starts to date as a woman for the first time.

“The Honeybeez” showcases Alabama State’s plus-size dance squad, is here to prove that dance is for everyone. These young, inspiring HBCU dancers let the haters be their motivators as they showcase their remarkable talents on the biggest collegiate stages.

“Driven” (Big Fish Entertainment, an MGM Company) features an entourage of young entrepreneurs at PTG365 deliver flashy, custom cars to their high roller clients using nothing but their phones and a whole lot of hustle. The high end, exotic car industry will never be the same.

“Mind Yourself” (Barcroft Studios) is anthology series, with each episode painting an honest and intimate portrait of a young person suffering or recovering from a mental health issue. From OCD and body dysmorphia through depression and PTSD, the series gives a human face – and hope – to young people facing similar issues. The unscripted series premieres Winter 2020.

“Everything’s Fine” (Powderkeg)  features Gemma, a college junior with big plans to kill it in the music industry while coping with a brand new bipolar diagnosis. Everything’s Fine is a comedy with an unflinching point of view on what it takes to manage a mental health condition (sometimes well, sometimes disastrously) while striving to be an overachiever.

“Players”  (Loud Labs Media and One Push) showcases Nash Brooks, son of famed NBA player Oscar Brooks and a rising star himself, relocates from Indiana to LA when his Dad is traded. No longer a big fish in a small pond, he has to prove his worth at a fancy west LA private school where he’s not even guaranteed a starting spot on the basketball team.

“Save Me” (Loud Labs Media and One Push). When his online classmate and crush goes missing, isolated homeschooler Jason takes it upon himself to find and save her. But when his search leads him to an off-the-grid “conscious community” that promotes human connection over digital devices, Jason’s character is tested in real life.

In addition, Snap announced it would be renewing the following serialized Snap Originals: “Bringing Up Bhabie” (docuseries) by Invent TV, “Two Sides” (scripted drama) by New Form, and “Kappa Crypto” (scripted comedy) by Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts.

Katzenberg Touts ‘Quibi’ Potential

NEWS ANALYSIS: DreamWorks Animation founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP chief executive Meg Whitman March 8 at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, unveiled details about Quibi, the streaming video service slated to launch in 2020.

The platform, which is targeting cord-cutters and younger-demo consumers comfortable streaming short-form video on mobile devices, aims to capture 20 minutes of the 70 minutes consumers spend daily watching scripted and non-scripted content, according to Katzenberg.

“Six years ago it was six minutes. A year and a half ago, it was 40 minutes. And today it’s 70 minutes,” he said, as reported by Techcrunch. “People love being able to watch great short form content on the go.”

Banking on Katzenberg’s studio clout and $1 billion in fiscal backing, Quibi reportedly has inked original content deals with director/producers Sam Raimi, Antoine Fuqua, Guillermo del Toro and Jason Blum. Content creators include Justin Timberlake, Kobe Bryant, Scooter Braun, Jennifer Lopez and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, among others.

The platform is also producing an original program on the creation of Snapchat and founder Evan Spiegel.

Whitman, who said she follows the data, claims confidence about Quibi based on the fact “our users” are watching a lot of video on mobile.

“They’re excited about the opportunity to see something differentiated,” she said.

So was Verizon in 2015 when it launched go90, the ambitious ad-supported streaming video app for mobile devices (i.e. cell phones) that featured original content from Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and helped launch Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-winning animated short, Dear Basketball.

The app lasted less than three years without generating traction with the same audience Quibi is targeting. Verizon ended up posting a $1 billion loss on the venture — a dubious footnote to retiring CEO Lowell McAdam’s legacy.

Katzenberg and Whitman say Quibi will not look to rival Netflix or YouTube. Instead, it will compete for a share of the online video behemoths’ mobile video users featuring about 100 original content items weekly, including a MTV-style music news program.

“We’re using a lot of judgment, and we’ll know whether it works when it launches,” Whitman said.

Nick Bell Departing Snap as Content VP

Nick Bell, the young executive who helped create Snapchat’s original video programming, is leaving the social media platform after five years.

Bell, who joined Snap from News Corp., said he will transition out of the company by the end of the year to take a break and decide his future career plans.

“This experience has been incredibly rewarding and an absolute blast,” Bell said in a statement. “I leave now with amazing memories, many lifelong friendships, and a huge amount of excitement for the future of Snap.

Recognized in Media Play News’ inaugural “40 Under 40” feature showcasing upcoming executives in home entertainment, Bell launched his first dotcom venture, Teenfront.com, at 16 in the United Kingdom before joining News Corp. as SVP in his 20s.

He joined Snap in 2014 and worked with co-founder Evan Spiegel as the social media app moved into original content, including video, via Snapchat Discover.

Notable deals include a partnership with NBC Sports Group for “Premier League: Extra Time” and the reality dating shows “Phone Swap” and “Second Chance.” In March, Snap bowed an augmented reality marketing deal with Sony Pictures for the home release of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, incorporating a special code on packaging and marketing materials that filtered through Snap.

 

 

Snap Licenses Video Content from Britain’s Barcroft Media

Snap has licensed eight series from British digital reality TV content creator Barcroft Media.

Shows, which include “Ridiculous Rides,” “Snapped in the Wild,” “Beast Buddies,” “Born Different,” “Dog Dynasty,” “Hooked on the Look,” “Outrageous Homes,” and “Shake My Beauty,” are geared toward younger audiences using mobile devices.

Indeed, “Born Different,” which bowed online Oct. 30 featuring an 11-year-old with an aging condition, reportedly generated 5.2 million views in the first 24 hours.

“We’re really excited about this partnership with Snapchat and to be growing our popular series brands with new young audiences on another one of the world’s premier content platforms,” Alex Morris, creative director of Barcroft Media, said in a statement. “The initial response from Snapchatters around the world has been fantastic.”

The social media app last month announced the launch of Snap Originals and the debut of serialized programming, including its first formal slate of scripted shows and docuseries from Bunim/Murray Productions, the Duplass Brothers and Brad Weston’s Makeready, as well as established film and television writers.

Snap also extended its content production commitments with NBC Universal through 2019, and Viacom committed to creating 10 new Snap Originals. Viacom is also syndicating 500 episodes of its network’s shows to the platform.

Comscore Partnering with Snap for Content Viewership Data

Data measurement firm Comscore Nov. 5 announced a partnership with Snap to integrate Snapchat Discover traffic into Comscore’s digital audience measurement. The deal is expected to better qualify Snapchat traffic on both owned-and-operated and distributed content platforms.

“We are committed to helping our partners and advertisers have a better understanding of their audience in order to build long-term, sustainable business models,” said Nick Bell, VP of content at Snap, said in a statement. “Our integration with Comscore is another important step in our continued progress towards establishing valuable measurement practices.”

Indeed, Comscore in February said that 63% of U.S. households (59 million) with high-speed Internet streamed an average of 50 hours of OTT video that month – ranging from 20 minutes to more than three hours per day.

Better understanding its audience has been a priority since the social media platform earlier this year redesigned the Snapchat Discover app, including separating content – including video – from friends, celebrities and publishers into different categories.

The move angered many Snap users, including reality TV star Kylie Jenner, whose tweet that she didn’t use Snapchat much anymore resulted in a $1 billion market valuation drop.

Comscore said the new partnership affords a more “holistic” view of audience scale, with the addition of audience viewing of publisher’s content on Snapchat, to traffic from the publisher’s own entities.

“With so many consumers viewing content through social platforms, it’s vital that this consumption is adequately accounted for,” said Dan Hess, chief product officer at ComScore. “We are excited to partner with Snap to integrate Discover traffic into our digital audience solutions so both publishers and media buyers have a more complete view of audience size, engagement, and potential value.”

 

Snap Bows Original Programming

Social media app Snap Oct. 10 announced the launch of Snap Originals and the debut of serialized programming, including its first formal slate of scripted shows and docuseries from Bunim/Murray Productions, the Duplass Brothers and Brad Weston’s Makeready, as well as established film and television writers.

Snap also announced NBC Universal extended its content production commitments through 2019, and Viacom has committed to creating 10 new Snap Originals. Viacom also committed to syndicating at least 500 episodes of its network’s shows to the platform.

Snap Originals will be available on the app’s Discover page to Snapchat users globally. It is also introducing new product features that will make it easier for viewers to find, watch and interact with programming.

Every Show will have a dedicated profile page where users can find all available episodes and seasons to watch at once. Each ad-supported episode averages five minutes. Snap recently launched a six-second, non-skippable ad format.

The app has also created portals for several of its shows, enabling users to swipe up from an episode and literally walk into a scene and interact with the objects and characters. It has also developed custom interactive lenses that will enable users to share the show experience with their friends.

Since the beginning of the year, Snap said it has nearly tripled the time viewers spend engaging with its video programs.

“Over the last two years, our highly engaged and loyal audience has helped to define what mobile content should look like,” Nick Bell, VP of content at Snap, said in a statement.

The initial launch slate includes:

  • “Endless Summer”- (Bunim/Murray Productions) – Influencers Summer McKeen and Dylan Jordan try to balance love, friends, family, and fame in this intimate snapshot of their lives in Laguna Beach, California. Docuseries launches )ct. 10.
  • “Class of Lies”- (Makeready) – Best friends slash college roommates Devon and Missy crack cold cases on their successful true-crime podcast…but can they solve the most important case of all when their best friend disappears without a trace? Scripted series launches Oct. 10.
  • “Co-ed” (Duplass Brothers’ DBP Donut, Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts) – Juggling classes, parties, and down-the-hall crushes, freshman roommates Ginny and Chris try their best to face whatever college throws at them, discovering who they are along the way. Scripted series launches Oct. 10.
  • “Vivian” (NBCU Digital Lab, The Intellectual Property Corporation in association with Wilhelmina) – Vivian is the youngest model scout at Wilhelmina, one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in the world. She takes us inside this exclusive world where she has the power to make wannabes’ dreams come true — but can she do that for her own? Docuseries launches Oct. 22.
  • “The Dead Girls Detective Agency”- (Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts, Insurrection and Keshet) – This darkly comedic supernatural soap follows Charlotte Feldman, a young woman who must work from beyond to figure out how and why she died, in order to avoid an eternity in purgatory. Based on the young adult novel by Susie Cox. Scripted series launches Oct. 22.
  • “V/H/S”- (Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts and Studio 71) – The next generation of the horror anthology series, bringing four new frightening experiences to the palm of your hand. Scripted series launches Oct. 28.

Six additional series have already been greenlit for production.