Snapchat Mobile App Plans to Add News Content and Sell Ads

Snapchat, the mobile app that creates vanishing messages and currently touts 27 million users, may soon become a service for distributing television and movie clips, news videos and articles, and advertisements. According to people familiar with the matter, the startup has met with advertisers and media companies in recent weeks about a service to launch in November called Snapchat Discovery. At least a dozen newspapers, magazines and TV networks have reportedly discussed providing content.

Snapchat“The product would let users read daily editions of publications as well as watch video clips of TV shows or movies by holding down a finger on the screen, like they do with photos and other messages on the app before disappearing,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

Evan Spiegel, the startup’s 24-year-old CEO has recently been meeting with ad execs in New York. According to his slide presentation, Snapchat users send more than 700 million vanishing messages (known as “snaps”) per day.

Not surprisingly, more than half of the users are 13- to 17-years old (just last week we reported that Snapchat is currently the third most popular social app, behind Facebook and Instagram, with the millennial demographic).

“Eager to reach the app’s young-skewing audience, brands like Taco Bell and McDonald’s have launched accounts on Snapchat,” notes Mashable. “Others have made deals with stars on the platform to distribute branded messages, with the social celebrities sometimes making as much as $30,000 per campaign for their efforts.”

According to comScore estimates, Snapchat was used by 27 million iPhone and Android phone owners in June, up from 11 million the previous year.

The new Snapchat Discovery service could provide Snapchat with its first revenue and help demonstrate its increasing value. The company famously turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer by Facebook in 2013. And last month, Alibaba Group considered an investment in Snapchat, which placed the valuation at more than $10 billion, but eventually passed.

“By joining with professional content providers, Snapchat would make its service more appealing to advertisers,” suggests WSJ. “The company last year unveiled Snapchat Stories, a tool for linking together multiple messages that don’t disappear as quickly as other ‘snaps’ on the app. Snaps typically disappear 10 seconds or less after the user sees them.”