Snapchat announced its news and media platform, Discover, months ago, and it is due to finally launch at the end of January. In the original press release, we were told that Discover will give users the ability to “read daily editions of publications as well as watch video clips of TV shows or movies by holding down a finger on the screen.” And while that might not sound so different from other ubiquitous content discovery platforms like Twitter and Facebook’s News Feed, Snapchat’s product now differs in one key aspect; it will feature content created by Snapchat itself.
In addition to making articles and videos from outlets such as CNN and Vice available, the company has hired an in-house editorial team as part of its mission to become known as a publisher as well as a platform. Digiday’s John McDermott believes that there is no better time for a tech company like Snapchat to venture into original media, citing the commercial and critical success of ‘Transparent’ and ‘Orange Is The New Black’ on Amazon and Netflix respectively.
“Social networks that have dabbled in content creation have not always been incredibly successful,” counters Rich McCormick at The Verge. “Tumblr fired three journalists in 2013 after a year of producing innovative in-house writing, a period the company later described as something of an experiment. But Snapchat, with its $10 billion valuation, advertising clout, and brand power among teens, may be better placed than its competitors.”
This teen audience in particular may hold the key to Discover’s success, as they are less likely to consume traditional media and are reportedly sick of Facebook’s Edgerank-heavy News Feed. According to CNN’s former head of digital, KC Estenson, “Snapchat is on to something that will be incredibly meaningful for its audience and super helpful for reaching people who aren’t consuming content on TV, newspapers and magazines.”