Musical.ly, the lip-syncing social video app, is stirring professionally produced short-form shows into its mix of user-generated content.
The fast-growing startup has inked deals with Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines Digital Media for short original series aimed a Musical.ly’s Gen Z audience. The shows — the first of which are coming from MTV, E! and Seventeen — are each designed to be interactive: They include a call-to-action to Musical.ly users (which the company calls “musers”) to post their own personal responses using specific hashtags.
All the shows will be free for Musical.ly users to watch, and no money is changing hands for now under the startup’s partnerships with the three media companies. Initially, the shows won’t include any advertising or other forms of monetization. The company expects to find ways of generating revenue from original premium programming in the future — but out of the gate, the shows from Viacom, NBCU and Hearst Magazines Digital Media mark Musical.ly’s bid to plant a flag in the entertainment biz.
The first two Musical.ly shows, launched Thursday, are a quick-hit version of MTV’s “Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out” comedy series and Seventeen’s “Fashion to DIY For,” telling musers how they can create their own runway looks:
On Saturday, the next two Musical.ly shows are set to debut: MTV’s partially animated comedic series “Greatest Party Story Ever,” which will feature content from select Musical.ly users; and Hearst’s “Seventeen and the City,” highlighting hidden gems in New York City.
The first crop of weekly shows will be 2-4 minutes per episode, and they’ll be featured at the top of the Musical.ly app’s “trending” section for a 24-hour period. The content will still be available for musers to watch — and respond to — afterward on the media companies’ Musical.ly accounts.
You can learn even more about Musical.ly’s deal with Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines Digital Media at Variety.