Snapchat is getting its own superhero series, SnapperHero. It will be the first scripted series created specifically for the app, its producers say.
AT&T Inc. and two online studios, Astronauts Wanted and Fullscreen Inc., are collaborating on the project, in which celebrities from YouTube and Vine play superheroes in short clips. Snapchat isn’t making the series - like YouTube, it hosts the creations of its contributors, and the posts will show up in user feeds like everything else.
SnapperHero is the latest example of the entertainment industry's growing fascination with the popular app.
"This is a big push for us to try and use the platform in a way that it hasn’t been used before," producer Billy Parks said. "It’s learning how to use Snapchat to tell a story."
For SnapperHero, there will be 12 instalments each of 100 to 200 seconds. Last Wednesday, YouTube personalities Anna Akana, Freddie Wong and others started promoting the series, which will start later and run through March. Each episode will disappear after a set amount of time.
The Snapchat-based series grew out of a previous partnership between producer Parks and AT&T on the show @SummerBreak, a reality series viewed only on social media platforms like Vine and YouTube.
They used Snapchat to offer behind-the-scenes footage from production of the second season, which followed students at a couple of Southern California high schools.
As with @SummerBreak, fans will have a big role in the telling of the story. The show’s stars will use social media to engage with followers before, during and after the production.
Throughout this week Akana and Wong will ask their large followings across Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms to help determine their superhero identities, costumes and origin stories. Wong has more than 7.4 million subscribers on YouTube; Akana has more than 1.1 million.
Snapchat, which says it processes more than 700 million disappearing photos per day, has also formed video partnerships of its own.
Snapchat has teamed up with CNN, Yahoo and nine other media companies to feature videos and articles on its mobile messaging service, a move that heightens the competition with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Snapchat’s new Discover service features individual "channels" for its various media partners that include five to 10 stories a day, according to Snapchat, which announced the move on its official blog last week.
After 24 hours the stories disappear, in keeping with Snapchat’s trademark feature of private messages that disappear a few seconds after they are viewed by users of the service.