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Step aside, Snapchat: just launched original shows

Nick Cannon (the guy in orange, duh) performs onstage at Nickelodeon's 2017 Kids' Choice Awards.
Nick Cannon (the guy in orange, duh) performs onstage at Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards.

Image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

First it was YouTube Red, then Twitter and Snapchat followed along. Now, the popular lip-synching video app, is the latest to add original “shows” to its platform.

“Musers” can expect programming from the likes of NBCUniversal, Viacom, and Hearst. They’re bringing five short shows to the table, starting immediately. Each show will be two to four minutes long and will appear in a featured section of the app for 24 hours.

Seventeen’s Fashion to DIY For and MTV’s Wild ‘N Out hosted by Nick Cannon will be the first to go live. The second round of shows is set to hit the air on Saturday, June 17, featuring MTV’s Greatest Party Story Ever and Hearst’s Seventeen in the City.

The whole point, of course, is to give users more things to do in the app, so they’ll spend more time there. It also gives the service a greater connection to what’s going on in the broader entertainment world, rather than just being an app that aggregates user-generated videos — similar to the equation Snapchat confronted when it introduced its Discover section with channels from established media outlets (including Mashable). is hugely popular among its Gen X users and has shot its most popular creators, like Ariel Martin (known as Baby Ariel) and Mark Thomas (known as Duhitzmark), to fame.

But, with the addition of studio-made shows, isn’t trying to take musers out of the limelight.

Viewers don’t just have to sit back and watch the action. They can interact with the shows by creating their own videos after watching. When musers put the show’s hashtag in their comment, their videos will be compiled into a page that’s featured at the end of the show. 

The new shows will start rolling out immediately. And look forward to other shows, like Crush — a new E! show featuring’s most popular users divulging their celebrity crushes — and a Telemundo series to roll out in the future. 4672 811b%2fthumb%2f00001 gets into original content with new shows from Viacom, NBCU & Hearst

Lip-syncing social network is getting into original content, thanks to new deals with Viacom, NBCU and Hearst, which will bring short-form video series to the app. However, unlike the original videos found on Snapchat – an app that’s often the next step up for the tween-age audience – these shows are designed to be interactive.

That is, the shows encourage’s users – a group who’s already comfortable making and producing videos to share with friends – to post their own personal responses to the shows using hashtags.

The news was first reported by Variety, which also notes the new show will be free to watch, and don’t initially include any ads or other forms of monetization. Instead, they’re designed to test the waters for original content across the social network – and hasn’t paid its partners to produce the shows, either, the report says. is something of an under-hyped social network, given its size and scale. The Shanghai-headquartered startup was valued at around $500 million last summer, when raising a $100 million round. Its app has been downloaded around 200 million times, and it said in December, 2016 that it has over 40 million monthly active users.

Those are sizable numbers for a social network who user base is almost entirely kids. (In fact, its appeal with children has it operating in a gray area when it comes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule – aka COPPA. Kids can be reached on the app, and are often under 13 because parents install it for them.)

The first two of the new original shows launched on today, where they’ll be shown at the top of the app’s “Trending” section for 24 hours.

One is a shortened version of Viacom/MTV’s “Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out” comedy show, while the other is Seventeen’s “Fashion to DIY For.” The next two, MTV’s “Greatest Party Story Ever” and Seventeen’s “Seventeen in the City,” will hit on Saturday.

NBCUniversal, meanwhile, is planning an E! show “Crush,” focused on celebrity crushes. It also has plans for other shows from NBC Entertainment and Telemundo.

The shows, which will be only 2 to 4 minutes long, will also be available for users to respond to after their initial posting on the media companies’ own profiles. To respond, users can record their own reaction videos which will be linked to own a hashtag page in the app.

Separately, the company announced today a partnership between its live-streaming app and Sweety High, a digital media company aimed at Gen Z girls. Sweety High is also launching video content – a series called “After the Bell” – in the app. The series launched into beta in February, and now has an audience of 300K-400K weekly viewers, the company says.

Beyond original content and video series, the company has been quietly experimenting in other areas, as well, hoping to bring its growing user base to more social applications. Earlier this year, launched a video messaging app called Ping Pong on the App Store, which had followed a third video chat app called Squad.