With ‘The Voice on Snapchat,’ NBC Opens a New Front for Itself and Advertisers

Forget pop stars in spinning chairs. NBC will find out if swiping thumbs can help boost the network's reach among young viewers.

On Monday, NBCUniversal will team up with Snapchat, the photo messaging app, by providing mini TV shows that are offshoots of its established properties.

The rollout begins with "The Voice on Snapchat," a five-part series in which this season's coaches -- Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton -- judge user-submitted videos, with winners potentially appearing on the Sept. 19 broadcast premiere of the reality competition's 11th season.

The partnership between Comcast-owned NBCUniversal and Snapchat Inc. not only underscores the photo-based messaging app's ambitions to grow beyond a communication platform into a viable entertainment destination, but also highlights Hollywood's race to seize the attention of young viewers who would rather surf apps than TV channels.

The Venice company has been in talks for months with TV networks and studios about producing original series for its Discover section, a coveted area on the app where more than 100 million people worldwide each month interact with articles and videos from ad-supported publishers such as People, BuzzFeed and the Wall Street Journal.

The largely text-based stories now will share the stage with more TV-like programming. The deal with NBCUniversal allows Snapchat to get high-quality content from established brands, accelerating the firm toward a $1-billion revenue goal for next year. The studio benefits from being invited to sit at the lunch table alongside Snapchat's users, who include more than 60% of U.S. smartphone users younger than 35.

Ron Lamprecht, executive vice president of business development and digital distribution at NBCUniversal, said traditional media companies are struggling to reach younger viewers.

"[Snapchat] is a very young platform, but it's got massive usage, massive growth," Lamprecht said. "It's just logical for us to want to partner with them in...

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