Snapchat Plans to Offer Original Media Content

In a new feature of the app, Snapchat will soon offer original media from outlets like ESPN, CNN, National Geographic, Vice and Yahoo. And accompanying these new snaps? Ads from “big consumer brands,” reports Mike Isaac of the New York Times.

What does this mean for Snapchat and its partners? Revenue! Reaching Young People! Becoming a Media Company!

As Isaac tells us, the shows or snaps or whatever else ESPN conjures will be cut up with advertisements, TV-commercial style, with the money from the ads shared between Snapchat and its media partners. Discover is the name of the new feature. For Snapchat, Discover means revenue.

For CNN and National Geographic and every other media company jumping in, Snapchat provides an audience of young humans who buy stuff. These same young people also promote the products of media companies by sharing things online (free labor!), a habit of consumption that doubles as pro bono marketing for businesses that produce content.

And lastly, for Snapchat, whose CEO Evan Spiegel is said to be “fascinated by the media”, this represents a new business push. Perhaps Spiegel sees the future of Snapchat as a media platform, in the image of YouTube or Vimeo or Vine. One question is: how will Discover co-exist with snaps? Perhaps users can send Yahoo  or Vice clips that live on Discover as a snap. How will the two intermingle?

So far, it’s unclear how Snapchat will make any money as a disappearing picture-message service. Maybe this focus on media is a way to buy time until they figure that out. It could also be the new direction of the company, with Facebook as the model: a social network built on the correspondence of friends, but funded by targeted ads and the distribution of published work.

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