By Biz Carson
Alex Heath / Business Insider
A Snap billboard on Wall Street.
Snapchat says it’s now a camera company — with its forthcoming camera-glasses and its hundreds of millions of smartphone-bearing teen devotees reinventing the way we take photos.
But the company is also quietly taking steps to replace another iconic consumer device: the television.
The maker of the popular social networking app wants to fill its online service with a slate of original video programming that ranges from breaking news to entertainment and reality shows.
Job listings posted for its parent company, Snap Inc., indicate that the company is looking to hire development managers for its “original shows”, a role that entails reviewing pilots, pitching show ideas, and working with producers. Talent agents have started circulating Snapchat’s name as an active buyer of original programming.
And Snap sees itself becoming the “de facto news outlet” for its millennial audience, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans.
It’s an ambitious move that Snapchat has attempted before in a more limited manner. But with billions of television ad dollars at stake and plans for a $25 billion IPO underway, Snapchat is determined to evolve from a platform where teens trade selfies into the media powerhouse that reinvents must-see TV for the phone-first generation.
TV designed for your phone
Snapchat has been laying the groundwork for a bigger push into TV for awhile.
In 2015, the company had created its own in-house content team run by a former Fox exec and launched a music channel, called “Under the Ghost.” Both efforts were shut down as Snapchat regrouped on its content strategy and laid off a lot of the team behind it.
A year later, Snapchat’s ever-changing content strategy is focused on partnering with networks to develop entertainment programming, while leaving some of the news coverage to Snapchat’s editorial judgment, according to the source with knowledge of the plans.
In August, the company announced it had partnered with NBC to develop Snapchat-specific episodes of some of its hit shows, including “The Voice”, “Saturday Night Live”, and “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.” It was a process that took two years to court the network and develop the show ideas,