Who would have thought social messaging app Snapchat would become a news delivery platform when it was first released in 2011? Since then, the app has changed dramatically with the addition of video sharing, 24hr stories, geo tags and facial recognition filters. The aspect most important to journalists however is ‘Snapchat Discover’ which allows major organisations including CNN, National Geographic and ESPN to post news content.
It was announced on October 7th 2016 that The Economist would be joining Snapchat Discover by posting in-depth editions on a particular topic every weekend.
In a PRNewswire article, The Economist Strategy and Channel Relationships Senior Vice President Lydia Kaldas said the move to Snapchat was part of a new initiative. “Joining Snapchat Discover is the latest initiative in our “Read, Watch, Listen” strategy, allowing The Economist to adapt its highly-regarded content to new platforms as a way to grow reach and awareness with key audiences,” she said.
This is a smart move by The Economist as it’s content will now be broadcast directly to Snapchat’s 150 million active daily users. This is reportedly more than Twitter which has less than 140 million active daily users. While only 2 per cent of American adults use Snapchat for news, Snapchat claims it reaches 41 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds in the United States, providing news organisations with a great opportunity to reach the younger demographic who may not have a preferred news source.
Snapchat has re-designed ‘Discover’ since it was introduced to include story images and headlines on the interface. This presents the stories in a more eye-catching format and entices the reader to want to find out more. The increased chance of clicks provides more revenue for publishers and Snapchat itself through advertisements.
Right now Snapchat has the potential to change the way in which news is delivered. Whilst the use of Snapchat as a primary source of news is still far from true, major news organisations are jumping onto the Snapchat bandwagon and being taken along for the ride. It will be exciting to see what the future of news will be bring about.