The studio will be based in Santa Monica, California. It will produce made-for-mobile programming to primarily debut on Snapchat.
The initial focus will be to develop and produce Snapchat Shows, including scripted and other genres. NBCUniversal and Snap Inc. have equal equity stakes in the new venture.
Lauren Anderson has been named chief content officer for the digital content studio. She will work with creative talent from across the industry as well as from the NBC Entertainment network and studio under the strategic guidance of Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment.
Anderson was most recently senior vice president of primetime programming at NBC, where she developed and/or oversaw scripted series including Parks and Recreation, The Office, The Carmichael Show, and The Good Place.
Snap first launched Shows - mobile TV-like content filmed for Snapchat in a vertical format - on its Discover platform last September. NBCUniversal was Snap’s first partner for Shows, and launched The Voice on Snapchat, which was recently nominated for an Emmy award.
Since then, NBCUniversal has worked with Snap to develop and produce a number of Shows across a variety of genres, including entertainment news (E!’s The Rundown) and the first daily news Show for Snapchat (NBC News’ Stay Tuned), which attracted 29 million unique viewers, according to NBC.
NBC Universal invested $500m in Snap's IPO earlier this year as part of a strategic investment and partnership.
Maggie Suniewick, president of NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises, said: “NBCUniversal is proud to have been Snap’s first partner to create Shows, and we’ve seen consistent audience growth and engagement on the platform. This digital content studio is an extension of our already strong partnership and an opportunity to develop new IP and franchises for a mobile-first audience.”
The first deal to come out of the joint venture will be with the Duplass Brothers’ creative shop, Donut. Mark and Jay Duplass founded Donut Studios earlier this year to collaborate with platforms and brands to create entertainment content, as well as championing a new generation of filmmakers. The Duplass Brothers have produced, written, directed and acted in numerous film and TV series, including the recent HBO series, Togetherness and Room 104.
Mark Duplass, creative director of Donut, said: “For us, shooting in that vertical mobile format is a terrifying and thrilling creative challenge. We’ll try to not to f&*% it up.”
Sean Mills, head of original content for Snap Inc, said the company sees scripted as "the next exciting chapter to dive into".