How Snapchat Became More Important Than TV to Its Young User Base

“I took Plan B before sex because I think ahead,” said comedian Amy Schumer. “Plan A, that’s how I used it. They said I’d be nauseous; I went to yoga and felt fine. I wonder if the class knew I was aborting.”

Snapchat, where I first saw this video clip, is the video app that offers distraction after distraction. The addictive app is flooded with teenagers, has caused car accidents, made DJ Khaled famous and is now becoming the side dish of TV programming—that’s to say, if TV programming is your meat, this mobile mainstay is definitely your potatoes. More and more TV outlets are taking original video onto the world’s fastest growing app, proving it’s becoming the hottest place for new content. It’s the new mobile TV, especially for established media brands that need a new lease with millennials.

“Fifty years ago, it would have been hard to believe people have little TVs in their pocket,” said Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel in a scripted ad sales spiel, but that’s not where it ends.

“I fully believe that Snapchat’s main goal is to be a complete television provider that fits in your pocket,” said Snapchat expert Mark Kaye. “The way they have started producing and distributing content is very similar to traditional TV networks and most of their content partners are television networks that are looking to remain relevant and grow a younger audience.”

Comedy Central has nine new series on the app, including “Quickie with Nikki,” a sex talk show with comedian Nikki Glaser. Her weekly Snapchat segment is complementary to her TV show “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser,” where she asked her dad if he’s ever had anal sex.

These minute-long shows are short for a reason. “Fans are on the go on their phone and expect videos to be a bit more snackable—quicker, more aha, less serious,” said Deb Puchalla, vice president of content development for Food Network.

“We tend to be looser and as a result, there is a casualness and wit to our digital video that resonates.”

Puchalla recently launched a Snapchat series on health and wellness tips called “Feel Good with Hannah” hosted by Hannah Bronfman, co-founder of the beauty app Beautified. They’ve also launched “Budget Bytes,” a show about money-saving meals hosted by cookbook author Beth Moncel, who finds penny-pinching recipes for leftover stuffing muffins.

It’s a huge step for Snapchat, an ephemeral messaging app that deletes all its content every 24 hours. Co-founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown at Stanford University, it has grown to be one of the biggest social media apps with 100 million daily users, 8 billion daily video views and over 70 percent of users being under 34—reaching the prime demographic that is watching less TV and streaming more on their phones.

Aside from sharing video and photo snaps to a personalized set of contacts, the app has a “Discover” section featuring exclusive content by their 19 media partners, earlier this month Entertainment Weekly and Essence were added to the mix.

Since January 2015, brands like MTV, The Wall Street Journal and VICE offer daily stories on the platform which over 70 million view monthly, making it an exclusive club for millennial-savvy media elite.

Those TV dollars, you ask? Advertisers love that Snapchat casts a wider reach of younger audience than TV networks. According to a Nielsen study, Snapchat reaches 41 percent of all 18 to 34-year-olds living in the US, which is far more than the top 15 American TV networks that reach only 6 percent of that demographic.

“When we talk to publishers, many of them point to their Snapchat channel as one of their top media assets,” said Ryan McConville, chief operating officer and president of mobile advertising agency Kargo. “That said, most people probably still go to Snapchat for content produced by their peers, then once they’re there, consume publisher content.”

A Snapchat representative declined to comment about how much each media partner pays for a prime spot on the app, but some say the media partners sell the ads for Snapchat who take a 30 percent cut with ads coming from Snapchat being 50-50.

“The Snapchat revenue model is very similar to traditional broadcasting, they get a whole bunch of eyes looking at a series of snaps, sneak in an ad and charge the advertising based on the number of views,” said Kaye.

It’s a mystery as to how many people watch each channel’s clips, as there is no view count and their media partners are not allowed to share numbers because of a non-disclosure agreement. But some millennials say the worst brands for speaking to a young audience are National Geographic and ESPN, while one survey shows the most popular channels are Buzzfeed and Comedy Central.

“We have to stop thinking about TV in the way we have done for decades,” said McConville. “The video we used to watch was television programming in 30 or 60 minute episodes, today the majority of video we consume might be video in 10 to 30-second bursts. Snapchat is a new TV in your pocket, but for many younger users, it is the TV of choice.”

from How Snapchat Became More Important Than TV to Its Young User Base Nadja Sayej

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