Snapchat, whose ephemeral-messaging service has grown to be phenomenally popular, introduced Discover — a way for media companies to distribute video, photo and text collections that live for 24 hours on the service — and announced deals with more than a dozen media and entertainment brands.
The primary media partners in the Snapchat Discover service are National Geographic; Yahoo News; Comedy Central; Time Inc.’s People magazine; Scripps Networks Interactive’s Food Network; CNN; Warner Music Group; ESPN; Vice Media; DailyMail.com; and Cosmopolitan. In addition, the Discover screen includes a dedicated Snapchat channel.
With the move, Snapchat is positioning itself more fully as a media platform — one that reaches an estimated 100 million-plus monthly active users. Snapchat Discover will compete with other social platforms and services that encompass video, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
The Discover feature presents Snapchat Stories, which are collections of photos, videos, audio and web pages, curated by the editorial teams of each partner. Users tap on a channel and swipe left to flip through a daily edition, which include five to 10 stories. Each story is headlined by a top Snap — a 10-second teaser for the story — and users swipe up for the longer-form piece of content. Whereas messages on Snapchat disappear after 10 seconds (or less), Stories published on the service remain available for up to 24 hours.
“Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore stories from different editorial teams. It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first,” Snapchat said in a blog post announcing the feature. “This is not social media.”
Every channel in Snapchat Discover is refreshed after 24 hours, “because what’s news today is history tomorrow,” the company explained.
In addition to the main 11 partners, other media companies with Snapchat Discover channels include Turner’s Bleacher Report and Fusion, the news joint venture of Univision Communications and Disney/ABC Television Network.
Content from Snapchat’s media partners will comprise quick hits and short-form content. The Yahoo News channel, for one, will deliver news headlines in a visual snapshot produced by the Yahoo Studios team and picked by Katie Couric, Yahoo’s global news anchor. In addition, Yahoo’s news and finance anchor Bianna Golodryga, who was previously weekend co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and other contributors will share stories through the Snapchat channel.
Individual media partners are working with sponsors for Snapchat Discover. For example, CNN, for its channel debut, is working with launch sponsor BMW North America, which will have sole sponsorship exposure during select days within the launch period. Food Network, in partnership with MediaVest, has signed Mondelēz International’s Ritz Crackers brand to be the launch advertising partner on its Snapchat Discover channel.
L.A.-based Snapchat, which launched its service in July 2011, disclosed in a Dec. 31, 2014, filing that it had raised a $486 million round of investment; that included funding from venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Yahoo. In total, Snapchat has raised about $648 million; other investors include August Capital, Chinese Internet company Tencent, Benchmark, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SV Angel and Institutional Venture Partners (IVP).