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Turner Inks Deal With Snap, Inc. to Create Original Series, Launch Bleacher Report on Snapchat Discover

Variety logo Variety 12/7/2016 Oriana Schwindt
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The line between new and old media, never truly a clear one, is blurring again. Turner and Snap, Inc. have just signed a new deal that will put Turner property Bleacher Report on Snapchat Discover in the U.S., and will have Turner and Snapchat teaming up to create original shows from Turner brands like TBS, truTV, Adult Swim, Great Big Story, and Super Deluxe.

The deal will also put more sports content controlled by Turner onto the Snapchat platform. Turner Sports had previously inked a deal to put 14 March Madness Live Stories onto the platform, but Wednesday’s deal will give the app more footage and photos from big events like March Madness and the PGA Championship. Though it was already a presence on Discover internationally, Bleacher Report’s Discover Channel will launch in the U.S. on Jan. 4.

“Millions of Snapchatters value the authoritative and credible reporting by CNN and Bleacher Report every day and we are excited about offering more frequent news updates and expanding Bleacher Report’s Discover coverage to the U.S.,” said Nick Bell, Snap’s vice president of content.

“This deal marks the latest strategic move for Turner to innovate within the digital arena and provide complementary viewing experiences for a younger, mobile-centric audience,” said David Levy, president of Turner.

The brands that will serve as collaborators for original series are all right in Snapchat’s wheelhouse, particularly with the recent rebrands of TBS and truTV, which have aimed the networks at the exact type of viewer who spends large amounts of time swiping through Snaps. Turner says it already manages to reach 80% of U.S. adults through its large portfolio of media properties, including Bleacher Report and its various TV networks, and 73% of those in the millennial cohort.

But for all the seeming feeding frenzy around Snapchat and its coveted hordes of young users, questions on the advertising side remain. Snapchat ads are being viewed, on average, for fewer than 3 seconds, according to an Ad Age report, and though the company says those ads are just as effective as ones seen on Facebook or via Google, the platform is still perceived by some in the ad world as more of an experiment, rather than a proven money-maker like Facebook.

Another current unknown is what formats the original series developed with Turner will take. Snapchat’s Live Stories may get millions of views, but a Snapchat “view” is counted as soon as the content loads, and most of the shows being developed for Discover Channels are bite-sized reality series, as opposed to longer-form scripted shows that populate mobile video platforms like Verizon’s go90 and Fullscreen.

Under the deal, Turner and Snapchat will collaborate on ad sales as well, developing “experiences” for consumers on the platform. The set-up brings to mind Snapchat’s deal with Viacom, which has two Snapchat Discover Channels for its brands — MTV and Comedy Central. The Viacom deal had Viacom selling Snapchat’s ad inventory.

Viacom ad sales chief Jeff Lucas left the company this summer to become Snapchat’s head of global sales.

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