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Channel 4 plots 300+ short episodes for Snapchat Discover - starting with Hollyoaks

Channel 4 taps into Snap with shortform programming

Channel 4 has entered a partnership with Snap which will see it deliver more than 300 shorter cuts of its shows on the Discover platform over the next 12 months.

This announcement comes days after the broadcaster launched 4Studio and announced its ambition to create branded content native to social media for youth audiences.

This will put it in direct competition with the likes of Vice, BuzzFeed and LadBible, with the studio making a significant push to help reach and engage a younger audience.

The Leeds-based digital content hub will also be trimming and repurposing shows for social, looking at opportunities across the lead platforms. On Snap, Celebs Go Dating, The Undateables, The Last Leg and E4’s Grime Gran are among those available on the platform. But the launch is also being trumpeted with the release of a Hollyoaks Snapchat lens "which allows users to create their own cliff-hanger finale, complete with the Hollyoaks theme tune and end credits."

The shows are made for mobile consumption and to hook viewers into the linear episodes. Hollyoaks will be first to air on Snap, with short-form made for mobile episodes going live immediately after they have aired on E4, All 4 and Channel 4.

It is an update to a partnership that was first put in place in 2018, which has seen the launch of shows like Celebs Go Dating, Don’t Tell the Bride and Tattoo Fixers. In this partnership, it claims to have reached more than 19 million unique viewers on Snapchat, and the app claimed that "most" were aged between 13-24.

Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, said: “We have a unique brand and taste and reach into the youth-dominated audience of Snap so the fit is clear. This partnership allows us to further our mission to serve young audiences, to increase time spent with Channel 4 and to supercharge our digital footprint across 2020.

"We are continually evolving and adapting to reach our audience wherever they are and this is the latest iteration. I am particularly thrilled that Hollyoaks will offer Snapchatters a unique introduction to the joys of the great British Soap.”

Sean Mills, head of content at Snap, added: “We can’t wait to see their distinctive storytelling style reimagined for the vertical screen.”

Since its inception, Snap's always had tough competition, particularly from Facebook which also looked to muscle in on TV integration. And now, fighting in the same category as TikTok, Snap has to grow those user numbers. It claims to reach 229 million people every day and 80% of 13 to 24-year-olds in the UK.

It also claims that in the first quarter, that daily time spent on Discover content was up more than a third year on year. Total time had doubled too. Essentially, it looks to have created a content consumption habit on the platform with a desirable audience, that broadcasters will continue to court going forward.

It comes at a difficult time for the industry, with TV advertising spend likely to have halved due to the pandemic. Broadcasters are looking to overspill their comfort zones and explore new platform for potential revenue streams.

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