At today’s TCA Snapchat, content bosses Nick Bell and Sean Mills asked how journalists in the ballroom at Pasadena’s Huntington Hotel used Snapchat. Few hands in the 30-plus demo room shot up.
“It’s what I expected,” said Nick Bell. The reason being is the social media platform’s prime demographic are between 12 and 24 and at a count of 47 million in the U.S., 88 million overall. Of that core 12-24 demo, that’s 9M more than Facebook and 15M users than Instagram.
Given that reach, it’s no wonder that cable channels and the movie studios are continually partnering with Snapchat to reach their mobile-video obsessed followers, a crowd that logs on 40 minutes a day to watch or make videos.
“One of the things we’ve played with is the concept of shared enjoyment,” said Bell. Instead of friends going through your feeds, Snapchat gives followers a sense of what you’re watching. At Snapchat we have the ability to get behind certain series and push them widely to our large user base. We proved. Puking rainbows and dancing hot dogs have become cultural phenomenons.”
While the movie studios have cried that the under 18 doesn’t go to the cinema in droves like they did in the 1980s and 1990s, they try to reach them with unique ‘Snapchat’ lenses for their films to get them in the door.
In regards to cable channels looking to create a version of their TV content on Snapchat, the execs at the social media company advise against re-purposing content already aired and instead create something fresh and original. In 2016, E! launched The Rundown on Snapchat hosted by Erin Lim which took a humorous take on the week’s pop culture stories. The Voice has its own Snapchat show which taps submissions from its app and then includes videos of the selected contestants singing.
Among original Snapchat shows that are a big boom: Phone Swap which draws 13-14M followers in 48 hours. It’s a concept akin to MTV’s old show Room Raiders. Essentially two contestants agree that they may go on a date. Swap each other’s phones and then after going through them, decide if the other is the one. Such shows are 3-5 minutes.
However, just because it’s aimed at the kids, doesn’t mean that they’re buying it. CNN tried to do a legitimate news show The Update that was a daily rundown of the biggest news stories from CNN’s reporters and bureaus around the world. But despite the ability to reach an elusive millennial audience on Snapchat, the news network struggled to make enough money to justify continued investment, sources told Deadline when the show was cancelled back in December. Today at TCA, Bell said “We’re working through the new creative” on a new show for CNN.
So what’s Snapchat upcoming slate of shows? They tend not to announce them, because millennials’ tastes, it’s ever changing. Said Bell, “We announce them when we launch them. There’s a number of reasons for that but we like to surprise and delight the audience. We’ve always done that at Snapchat. The timing (of them) can move as we learn what works the best for our audience.”