Will Snapchat ‘Lede’ the Way in News Content Partnerships?


Ibby Hussain

Account Manager

Snapchat wants a piece of the community journalism pie. While the social media platform isn’t saying goodbye to dog filters and voice changers just yet, it is positioning itself in a more serious light after announcing a new partnership with four news discovery channels.

NewsWhip, Storyful, SAM Desk and TagBoard—four organizations that aggregate and vet information via social media for news outlets—will mine all of the publically shared videos and photos on Snapchat for breaking news and relevant insights. News organizations with subscriptions to these companies will have access to all public Snap content, the way they currently do on Facebook and Twitter, to support their reporting.

Snapchat is also hopeful the service will aid smaller news organizations that may not have the resources or staff to send to every breaking news situation. Tagboard’s Chief Revenue Officer Nathan Peterson told Axios the data will be provided to about 200 local news subsidiaries of Tenga, Sinclair, NBC, ABC, Fox, Telemundo and Univision.

Plus, it’s free. Snapchat won’t charge the organizations to access the data, therefore news outlets with existing subscriptions will see this as an added bonus. The effort comes at a time when news organizations are in constant (and dior) competition with social media outlets for audience attention: just one of the many reasons we’ve seen an ever-declining pool of reporters. The Daily News is a heartbreaking case and point.

Conceptually, social media platforms partnering with news organizations to provide information faster and more accurately is outstanding; but is Snapchat the best-suited venue?

Vested research social media Snapchat

We did a little bit of (brief) digging to take a pulse on how colleagues (made up primarily of Snapchat’s target demo of Millennials and Gen Zers) are using social media to consume news. The results? Facebook and Twitter still lead the pack.

When asked if they use social media in general to consume news, a resounding 90 percent of respondents said “yes.”

But when asked if they use Snapchat, specifically, to consume news, the number fell to 20 percent, and go-to news discovery channels included The Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan and People Magazine, with a few one-offs who said CNN and The Washington Post.

Though 20 percent of users said that they use Snapchat to consume news, only 2 said it was their most prominent social news source, indicating that it’s a supplemental resource. What were folks’ preferred social news sources? Forty percent said Twitter was their most prominent; 37 percent said Facebook was their most prominent; about 10 percent said LinkedIn was their most prominent; about 10 percent said Instagram was their most prominent.

Vested research social media Snapchat

Facebook may continue to give Snapchat a run for its money when it comes to news. The Zuckerberg-owned social media giant launched Watch, a hub for original, Facebook-specific videos spanning news and explanatory videos, food videos and miniseries.

For example, CNN’s Anderson Cooper will host “Anderson Cooper Full Circle” on the digital channel; Watch will also be home to Fox’s “Fox News Update” with Shepard Smith, and ABC’s “On Location.” Additionally, Univision will host a daily news brief with Jorge Ramos, spotlighting immigrants and relevant issues around the country. Even smaller news outlets, like ATTN, Mic, and Alabama’s will take up residence on Watch.

Instagram’s also stepping up its news game with the recent launch of IGTV, which could mean an even smaller market share for Snapchat. In an effort to reach younger audiences—likely the same demo Snapchat’s trying to reach—IGTV already has buy-in from BBC, Vice, The Economist, Vogue, Esquire and ITV News.

But still, Snapchat’s offering is slightly different than other social news partnerships we’re seeing crop up. While plenty of Millennials and Gen Zers aren’t using Snapchat for news currently, it’s possible the social outlet could fill a void specifically for journalists, rather than consumers. Only time will tell, but we’ll need more than 10 seconds to fully analyze how these partnerships play out and their influence in journalism going forward.