Snapchat announced it will be adding a new genre of programming, dubbed docuseries, that, in its initial installments, will offer non-scripted episodes featuring social media personalities.
Other social media platforms are also tweaking and experimenting with the content it presents. For one, Instagram is said to be on the verge of rolling out the ability to post videos, up to an hour long while Facebook is working with publishers to create content for its Watch feature.
“They’re inventing as they go along,” said Bob Thompson, a professor of TV and popular culture at Syracuse University. “We’ll see how this shakes out to see how many … are going to be original content providers successfully.”
Snapchat’s first docuseries, Endless Summer, is expected to begin airing in the fall and will follow the lives of vloggers Summer Mckeen and Dylan Jordan, a real-life couple who live in Laguna Beach. Each episode will run three to five minutes, said Sean Mills, Snapchat Inc.’s head of original programming.
“We think about what the native behaviors are today and how they engage with their friends every day on the app,” Mills said. “There’s constant communication in how you follow friends’ stories and how you chat with them.”
Snap Inc. has been producing original shows since 2016 and has worked with production companies and studios to develop dozens of series for the Discover feature centered around topics that include news, sports and dating.
Snap is partnering with Bunim-Murray Productions for the series. Founded in 1987, Bunim-Murray Productions is responsible for The Real World, The Simple Life and Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Executive producers on Endless Summer will include Mckeen, Gil Goldschein, Julie Pizzi, Farnaz Farjam-Chazan, Andrea Metz, Clayton Santillo and Kyle Santillo.
“We’re happy to work with people who are incredible storytellers,” Mills said, “And rooted in the mobile experience, and really leaders in that perspective.”
With the docuseries, Snapchat will also offer augmented reality opportunities to users, including placing a viewer’s face into a background that matches the series and a portal that lets the viewer “enter” the world by walking up and going through it, Mills said.
In the portal, users will also be able to look around the scene, for example, viewing a bon fire as all the people from the show are huddled around it.
“I think there’s something that is really powerful about being to enter that world in a way that you haven’t been able to do before,” Mills said.