- Musical.ly, the karaoke video app with 40 million monthly active users, announced a partnership with Sweety High, a popular digital media company for Gen Z girls, to develop original shows with Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines Digital Media, according to a press release made available to Mobile Marketer. Musical.ly users, or “musers,” are encouraged to post comments and reactions to the programming using specific hashtags.
- The two- to four-minute episodes from MTV, E! and Seventeen magazine are aimed at Musical.ly’s predominantly teen audience and will be featured in the app’s “trending” section for a 24-hour period. The first two shows launched Thursday, with more set to run on Saturday and in the coming weeks, Variety reported.
- Musical.ly has been downloaded more than 200 million times worldwide, per the press release. Initially, the Shanghai-based company isn’t selling advertising on the shows, which are currently free for Musical.ly users to watch.
In the past two years, Musical.ly has exploded in popularity, particularly among U.S. teens, but it hasn’t expanded its audience size to match other social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and comparable newcomer Snapchat. Teens are a notoriously fickle audience, as seen in the rise and fall of retailers that have catered for years to young people’s tastes like Abercrombie & Fitch, American Apparel, Aeropostale and Pacific Sunwear. If Musical.ly wants to maintain its existing audience that's enthusiastic about sharing music videos and to establish itself as a provider of video and music entertainment, it needs to expand its programming.
At the same time, major media companies are losing their younger audiences to social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Live.ly, the live-streaming app made by Musical.ly that has cultivated its own content creators who produce shows. Sweety High, a social site for tween and teen girls, airs a live daily talk show on Live.ly titled “After The Bell” that reaches an audience of 300,000 to 400,000 viewers a week, according to the company.
According to data by Nielsen, the biggest drop in TV viewing last year was among teenagers, a key audience for Musical.ly. Teens watched 13 hours and 54 minutes of traditional TV a week in Q4 2016, an 11% decline from the year before and a 38% drop from five years ago. As broadcast TV struggles to find its next generation of loyal viewers, major mobile-first companies are trying to leverage this shift in TV viewing and harness younger audiences by experimenting with original programming.