Snapchat, known for self-deleting pictures that disappear after seconds, is planning to hold your attention for longer. Digiday says the company is planning to produce its own content in-house when it launches its "Discover" feature later this month, having hired a number journalists and video producers in recent months to help it become a full-fledged online publisher.
The company's ad-supported Discover service, which will also publish content provided by other sources such as CNN, ESPN, and Vice, was originally expected to launch in November. It was previously thought that the new service would primarily dole out news, photos, and video clips provided by partners, but Snapchat already has some limited experience of content creation. The company introduced Stories last year, rolling collections of snaps taken over 24 hours that don't disappear, curated and shared broadly among app users. Snapchat first trialed the feature at last year's Electronic Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, and again during the soccer World Cup in Brazil, rapidly making Stories the app's most popular feature.
Snapchat will produce its own videos, articles, and pictures
By producing its own journalism in-house, Snapchat is breaking from the trend followed by social networks such as Twitter and Facebook — neither social giant focuses on making its own videos to place on your timeline or wall. Social networks that have dabbled in content creation have not always been incredibly successful. 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 competitiors. The company certainly appears to be going all-in on its media division, with writers and videographers hired from News Corp, MTV, and — in the case of our friend and ex-colleague Ellis Hamburger — The Verge itself.
It's not yet clear what the final version of Snapchat's Discover feature will look like when it does launch, but Digiday says it will predominantly feature videos up to several minutes long, in addition to pictures and text. Deals between publishers and Snapchat will last for six months, and after those six months are up, other companies may become integrated into the Discover feature. One such firm might be music network Vevo — despite featuring in a mockup of the feature, Digiday's sources said that a deal was not finalized in time for launch. It's likely the omission is down to money: emails leaked as part of the Sony hack in December showed a dispute between Snapchat board member Michael Lynton and Vevo CEO Rio Caraeff over ad revenue