Snapchat's 'Discover' Gives Publishers A Video Showcase

Snapchat this morning debuted its Discover, a new service to let its mostly youngish users get a sampling of content from a variety of sources. The partners are Scripps Interactive, National Geographic, Yahoo News, Comedy Central, People magazine, CNN, Warner Music Group, ESPN, Vice Media, the UK's Daily Mail and Cosmopolitan.   

The idea shows how a familiar social media site can augment publishers’ existing Web presence.  

It seems you could get pretty well tipped off to any new material from those content providers by cruising Twitter, but the Discover idea isn't an either/or proposition.  Snapchat is presenting supposedly unique combinations of material, but what is really unique is the venue. You put content where the users are, and Snapchat has about 100 million monthly users.  

They tap a channel, and get a teaser, then swipe up to get the full, longer video.



"Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams," the Snapchat blog explains. "It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first.”

It continues: “This is not social media. Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important."

Why...that sounds suspiciously like the content model used by established media, which have "experts" prepare material they think is "important" for you to know about. And that's a crazy, dated, discredited notion. 

Indeed, the blog is filled with descriptions of content that you'd think newspapers could have written about themselves year ago, if newspapers had just a few clever bones left in the closet.

Like yesterday’s newspaper, Discover items will only exist for 24 hours, because, Snapchat’s blog points out, “what’s news today is history tomorrow.” It also fits with Snapchat's reason for being: briefly existing content. 

Only yesterday, as a matter of fact, AOL started its own two-minute newscast, “AOL Rise” that gets highlighted/displayed hourly from 6 a.m. through 9 a.m. It’s based on AOL’s research that 85% of us use our smartphone immediately after we wake up.

“Rise” is a neat way to capture that sizable crowd, though whether what it puts out there is “news” and not just pleasant banter from host Mari White is not even worthy of debate. Her lead today was about the storm paralyzing New York City, which she was talking about at about the same time everybody else was reporting that nothing much happened. 

Also these headlines: it’s Mozart’s birthday; and on this date in 2010, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad; it’s National Chocolate Day and some researchers say a lot of coffee drinking can thwart melanoma. It’s done live, so, uhh, “Rise” can update those stories. Because, you know, what’s news today is history tomorrow.
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