Musical.ly is ready to dive into original programming. According to the media website Bloomberg, the app designed for creating, sharing, and discovering personalized music videos is in talks with media companies including Viacom Inc. and NBCUniversal to make original programming, set to launch this summer.
Musical.ly is looking to expand beyond music. Instead of creating content that is heavily produced, the company is looking for content that is participatory and interactive.
Founded by longtime friends Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang in Shanghai, China in 2014, Musical.ly exploded among millenials, attracting popular entertainers who frequently pull in millions of followers. The app claims over 100 million users globally. The company has also rolled out other products including live streaming app Live.ly, group video chat Squad, and video messaging app Pingpong.
Musical.ly already works closely with traditional media companies. The company recently collaborated with NBCUniversal’s Telemundo for the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards, and is in talks to develop more Hispanic-focused entertainment concepts. Hearst’s Seventeen magazine also announced it will make a slate of video series focused on fashion and beauty.
In related news, Musical.ly will launch a new feature that will allow people to create their own face filter, very similar to the filters used on Snapchat and Instagram, according to the people who spoke to Bloomberg. The feature, called Face.ly, will be similar to like Bitmoji, which lets people design an animated avatar of themselves.
Musical.ly is joing the ranks of other social media company's entering into original programming. This summer, Facebook is rolling out a new video tab, which will contain some exclusive content. Snapchat has already introduced and produced mulitple shows for their Snapchat’s Discover platform. A&E Networks is developing the first unscripted reality TV drama series for Snapchat Shows. BBC recently jumped into Snapchat with Planet Earth II, a sequel to its acclaimed nature series from 2006 and VICE will also produce Hungry Hearts with Action Bronson, a reality show about dating.