Snap and NBC Universal have announced a joint venture wherein the companies will produce original scripted shows that will air on Snapchat. The first scripted series is being produced by the Duplass Brothers and episodes will start airing on Snapchat in 2018.

Snap and NBC’s joint venture hasn’t been given a name yet, but the new digital content studio will be based in Santa Monica, California. The studio will be headed by Lauren Anderson who is also NBC’s former senior vice president of current programming. The new studio will be a 50/50 ownership between NBC and Snap.

“We fundamentally believe that mobile is a new medium,” Snap’s head of content Sean Mills told Variety. “Because that creative process is so unique, we felt there was a need for a fully dedicated entity focused on that.”

Snap and NBC have worked together before. Earlier this year, NBC invested $500 million in Snap as part of the company’s IPO. That investment is separate from this new joint venture. NBC didn’t disclose how much it has invested in this joint venture with Snap, nor did it share information how many staffers will be part of the new digital content studio.

Snap and NBC will be partnering with several content creators to produce new scripted programming for this new joint venture. The first scripted series will be executive produced by Mark and Jay Duplass. The Duplass Brothers are co-creators of the HBO original series “Room 104” and “Togetherness.” The brothers also secured a four-picture deal with Netflix back in 2015, accoridng to Android Authority.

The Duplass Brothers already have six concepts for the scripted and unscripted shows for Snapchat, including comedy, drama, horror and documentary genres. It wasn’t made clear how many shows the Duplass Brother will be creating for Snap and NBC, but they are aiming to create episodes with a running time of 8-10 minutes.

“We’re definitely thinking about their user base, what would appeal to their core group of users, who are essentially millennials,” Mark Duplass said. “If we make one show and it’s really doing well, we might just stick with that – and do 100 episodes of that show.”

No information was given on the Duplass Brothers’ first Snapchat show, but it seems as though Snap and NBC are giving them some creative freedom. Mark Duplass also confirmed that their show will be shot in the vertical-frame format, saying that it’s going to be an “exciting process.” The companies said that Snapchat users should expect the new scripted series to arrive in 2018 but didn’t announce an exact timeframe or release date.

This new joint venture is Snap’s biggest step in turning Snapchat into a platform for original video content. Partnering with NBC and splitting ownership of the new joint venture equally also places Snap in a position of control, as pointed out by TechCrunch. For NBC, it already sees a high level of engagement to its current Snapchat content and it’s being bolstered by the app’s 173 million active users. Partnering with Snap seems to be a logical step forward for the media company.

Snapchat Snap and NBC Universal announces joint venture to produce scripted programming that will air on Snapchat. Photo: REUTERS/Eric Thayer