NBCU Bringing 'SNL,' 'The Voice' and 'Tonight Show' to Snapchat

App Strikes Original Content Deal With Network

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'Saturday Night Live.'
'Saturday Night Live.' Credit: Dana Edelson/NBC
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Live from Snapchat, it's Saturday Night? Snapchat and NBC Universal announced a partnership today that will bring network TV shows to the messaging app, including "Saturday Night Live" and "The Voice."

Snapchat has been on a signing spree since spring to bring original video programming to the app, which is its way of competing with rivals Facebook and Twitter for digital rights. Snapchat announced an expanded partnership with the National Football League last week. Twitter has rights to stream 10 NFL games this season, and Facebook has been paying top media companies to broadcast live to the social network.

The companies are in a high-pressure contest to win the most appealing lineup of media and talent. It's no wonder why either -- they are able to sell sponsorships for big bucks.

Snapchat has asked for as high as $7 million for NFL ad packages, and Twitter has sought to generate $80 million from its football content, according to advertising sources.

Snapchat has been in talks with multiple networks and media companies to develop original content for the app, according to advertisers who have been invited as sponsors.

The NBCU deal expands on the partnership the two companies already have for the Olympics. NBC has been posting content round the Olympics to Snapchat's Discover section, which is where media partners serve their videos, articles and other content inside the app.

Snapchat has about 150 million daily users, and last year the NFL reached 70 million unique viewers on the app, according to advertisers.

The app has already made its mark in mobile media by popularizing vertical video formats, which have been embraced by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

"The idea that you're going to take a horizontal piece of content, even if it's great, and just crop it vertically isn't going to work," Ron Lamprecht, exec VP-digital distribution at NBCU, told The Wall Street Journal today.

NBCU is developing Snapchat shows that piggyback on its network brands like "The Voice," "SNL" and "The Tonight Show," according to The Journal. "The Voice" in Snapchat will allow everyday viewers to send videos of their own singing, which shows how the new interactive digital platforms could transform TV.

NBCU will head up ad sales for the programming, according to The Journal.