I know that anytime Team Snapchat sends something to the users, it’s usually significant news, but for some reason I wasn’t in a big hurry to open this new video that came on my feed this afternoon. Now that I’ve seen it, I regret not acting sooner.
Today, Snapchat updated to version 9.0.0 (iOS) with a brand new “Discover” feature. For those that aren’t on the app or have yet to open the video, Snapchat has teamed up with several media giants including CNN, VICE and Yahoo! News. Other new Discover partners include ESPN, People Magazine and Comedy Central.
Users can choose which channel they want to view after entering the Discover feed via the Stories page on Snapchat. The first path I chose was that of CNN. I was immediately greeted with the flashy CNN intro with a deep voice reminding me that, “This is CNN.” I was quickly sent to the main page of a snapped weather report of the recent blizzard in the Northeast. To read more on the story, all I had to do was scroll down and the full report was there for my reading pleasure.
As I swiped to the right, I was then transported to the haunting grounds of Auschwitz. Incredible drone footage of the empty, freezing camps filled my screen, accompanied with a headline of the content.
It was only after I swiped right a few more times that I discovered the purpose for this new feature. A short promotion began to play with a tiny “SPONSORED” graphic pasted onto the upper-left corner. It all makes sense, but I’m not upset at all. This is how Snapchat is going to return its estimated value drew several venture capitalists to the hottest app on the market.
For months, tech journalists and investors have questioned how Snapchat is going to monetize and take advantage of its overwhelming popularity. Some analysts estimate that Snapchat is reaching over $10 billion in value, and that’s being modest. While the app is still young, many are beginning to question how Snapchat is going to live up to this estimation. I believe Discover is the answer.
Each media channel is sponsored. CNN teamed up with BMW for its contribution while ESPN shared the opening screen with the upcoming movie, “Seventh Son.” It’s easy to see that this will be Snapchat’s newest method of ad revenue. Both fans and critics were worried that ads and promotions would ruin the Snapchat experience. Luckily, Discover offers sponsored content worth seeing. More importantly, the content wasn’t intrusive.
If Snapchat can bring this type of quality content with just a few sponsored spots and a few opening graphics, I’m game. I’m especially looking forward to seeing how ESPN will take advantage of this new feature. Live feeds of the College Football Playoffs? Constantly updating highlights of live NBA basketball games? No matter what it is, I’m excited to see it, even if McDonald’s wants to plug its fries in for a few seconds before the content reveals itself.
According to the tutorial channel on Discover, there is more to come tomorrow. I hope I’ll be able to pull myself away from the new features in order to update everyone. Thank you, Snapchat. You needed to make lots of money, and you found a great way to do so. You’re doing the right thing.