Snap Launches Live Video Feature

A day after reporting better-than-expected user activity, Snap is launching Live -- a new way for networks to stream live video directly to Snapchat users.

First out of the gate, NBC plans to use Live to serve up some of its live Winter Olympics coverage.

The partnership is a no-brainer, considering that NBCUniversal previously invested $500 million in Snap, and the network is aiming for kaleidoscopic coverage of the Games in South Korea.

In some much-needed good news for Snap, the messaging giant said on Wednesday that it added more users than expected during the fourth quarter of 2017. From the third quarter of the year to the fourth, Snap’s flagship Snapchat app increased daily active users (DAUs) from 178 million to 187 million.

Year-over-year, DAUs increased 28.8 million -- or 18% -- during the quarter ended December 31.

Although Snap posted a net loss of $350 million, quarterly revenue still reached $285.7 million -- up 72% year-over-year. Snap attributed the gains to auction traction and seasonality.

“Snap’s revenue growth seems to have caught Wall Street by surprise, but it is consistent with overall digital advertising growth (and specifically social advertising). Q4 is historically the strongest quarter for advertising, due to the holidays,” said Forrester analyst Jessica Liu.

Taking what CEO Evan Spiegel called a real “risk,” Snap unveiled Snapchat’s highly anticipated redesign during the fourth quarter.

Along with some subtle stylistic tweaks, the biggest changes include the removal of the app’s Stories page and a clear line between personal communications and media.

Analysts like Liu are still not sold on the redesign.

“It runs counter to why Snapchat was appealing to its younger demographic in the first place. I worry it will alienate that existing user base because they’re now trying to cater to the masses [and Wall Street],” she said.

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