Meet Snapchat’s Original Web Series: “Literally Can’t Even”

Snapchat is already making good on its promise to create original content. Just days after launching its new Discover feature to offer users great stories from editorial outlets like CNN, ESPN, VICE, and its own Snap Channel, Snapchat debuted its first-ever original web series, “Literally Can’t Even.”

Written by and starring Sasha Spielberg (Steven Spielberg’s daughter) and Emily Goldwyn (John Goldwyn’s daughter), the series follows the two friends on a string of misadventures in Los Angeles. The first episode, “Sip & Surf Party XXX,” premiered on January 31, and features such lines as, “All I have to do is pretend I’m drunk, and everyone is obsessed with me,” and “He follows a lot of hotels on Twitter, which, to me, says nothing but chic.”

Not your cup of tea? Well, you can hate-watch it—but you can’t binge-watch it. À la Snapchat’s photos, which disappear after a few seconds, the weekly five-minute episodes will each disappear after 24 hours. As The Verge points out, the superhero series that AT&T created for Snapchat was released with the same ticking clock.

If you missed the first episode, you were out of luck—until someone put it on YouTube. Within days, however, Snapchat had pulled the video from YouTube on a copyright claim, lending credence to the belief that Snapchat wants its content consumed exclusively in its app.

Some are already calling “Literally Can’t Even” a train wreck; others are quick to write it off as a poor attempt at something like HBO’s Girls or Comedy Central’s Broad City. Nonetheless, Snapchat’s first try at creating original content is making some unprecedented strides for content marketing.

First of all, while the content might not be there yet, the presentation is well developed. The coolest part of Snapchat’s series is its mobile-friendly video format. Since Snapchat only works with the vertical orientation of your phone, the series is presented in a split-screen format, with comic-book-style sections that stack on top of each other to show different points of view in a scene. It actually makes the show simple to follow, and easier to enjoy than if it ran in a narrow, vertical video.

Second, while Snapchat may still be learning to monetize and run an in-house editorial team, its big play in the original content ring puts it in the leagues of media powerhouses like Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube, which are already backing their own series. Could “Literally Can’t Even” encourage other mobile social platforms like Instagram and Vine to do the same? And could Snapchat’s mobile-friendly video format inspire more brands to use their app for similar content?

As we pointed out earlier this month, 2015 will be the year of the chat app for publishers and content marketers. Snapchat has just gotten things started.

Image by Snapchat

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