NBC and Snapchat Sign Landmark Deal for Summer Olympics

For the first time, a U.S. broadcast network is allowing distribution of Olympics highlights off its own platform. Snapchat just inked a deal with NBC to do exactly that for the 2016 Summer Games. The social media app will create a dedicated mobile channel. Content will come both from BuzzFeed, which will curate short clips and behind-the-scenes content to the Snapchat app’s Discover channel, and from Snapchat itself, which will create daily “live stories” from content from NBC, athletes and sports fans at the games.

Bloomberg notes the deal only covers the U.S. and will not include live streaming. Comcast, which paid about $1.23 billion for broadcast rights, isn’t charging Snapchat for access but instead will share revenue from the ads surrounding the content, with NBC taking the lead in selling. NBC is also looking to partner with Facebook and Twitter. BuzzFeed’s content will not be exclusive to Snapchat; it is looking for other partners, especially internationally.


“We have never allowed the distribution of any game highlights off NBC’s own platforms,” said NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel, noting that Snapchat “really effectively reaches a very important demographic in the United States, and is very important to our efforts to assemble the large, massive audience that will show up to watch the Olympic Games.”

NBC hopes that the younger demographic will get hooked by stories on the app, and then move their viewing to NBC on television or the Internet.

Snapchat’s most popular programming is its coverage of live events, such as the Oscars and Super Bowl, sometimes watched by more than 30 million people. The event coverage also combines footage taken by users. For example, Snapchat received 800 hours of video from the recent Coachella music festival in California. Additionally, the company hosts 20 Discover channels, run by National Geographic, BuzzFeed, ESPN and other news partners.

Bloomberg also reports that users are watching 10 billion videos a day on Snapchat, up from 8 billion in February. Snapchat’s own users are fueling the boom. More than a third of its daily users create “Stories,” which can be viewed for 24 hours by a broader audience.

“Snapchat is sharing the new stories statistic with investors to help explain that its app is focused on serving people who create and broadcast content, not just consume it,” explains Bloomberg.

“Conversations are not only including a photo or video, but are being started by them,” said SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Robert Peck, who reports Snapchat’s revenue for 2016 is estimated at $350 million. “People’s behavior is changing so that photos are being used as speech instead of a repository for memories.”