Time Warner is doing that with Snapchat. The social-media site started off delivering video content, such as Snap Stories, where content lives on the app for 24 hours before vanishing.
Time Warner will invest $100 million in programming content for Snapchat. Part of this deal also includes an advertising component, where Time Warner’s TV and film business -- HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. -- will also run media schedules on Snapchat.
Time Warner will create 10 TV series each with episodes three-to-five minutes long.
Why are they so short?
Because millennials want to consume TV content quickly -- before it disappears. With Time Warner, various short duration TV-video series will be produced including drama, comedy and other genres.
Traditional media companies make many R&D investments for the future. This means novel ways to create programming/content for new distribution platforms. Social-media platforms are one big area; another hot area is AI/VR (Artificial Intelligence/Virtual Reality) content.
However, not everything works. Everyone was in the 3D TV arena just a few TV seasons ago. Traditional TV viewing -- while still a sizable part of overall media for young TV viewers 18-24 -- has been ebbing.
While Snapchat provides users with disappearing content tools for its core users, it also wants the other side of things: Users to hang around long enough to pull in big advertising revenues -- especially on mobile phones.
One 2017 advertising estimate from eMarketer now says Snapchat could take in $770 million in advertising this year -- up nearly 160% from the same period a year ago.
Sounds like a lot. But long-term, this may not be enough for some analysts.
While the average Snapchat users spends 25 to 30 minutes per day on the service -- which compares favorably to Twitter -- a recent survey from Fluent found 69% of Snapchat users skip ads "always" or "often." That number climbs to 80% when looking specifically at the younger Snapchat audience.
Monetization needs to evolve. Better yet, it needs to keep up appearances.