Disclaimer: I realize that this argument could easily be made about Facebook or Twitter. I just think it's more effective on Snapchat.
Admittedly, I had a hard time getting into Snapchat. It's growing on me. Apparently it's growing on brands too. Especially shows.
Planet Earth, one of my favorite documentary series of all time, is bringing an exclusive sneak peek to Snapchat users. They aren't simply re-purposing the content but bringing a vertically-optimized version of the content to Snapchat users. Personally, I would rather view and Planet Earth episodes on a giant screen with awesome surround sound. I'm curious to see how this translates to my screen.
Sure, BBC could have tapped the shareability of Facebook, YouTube or Twitter to air exclusive videos or content ahead of premiere. Instead, they chose Snapchat in an effort to reach a younger demographic. I don't believe BBC will be the last content creator to partner with Snapchat in this capacity.
SNL has also launched a Snapchat exclusive series.
I also think that partnerships like these move Snapchat away from being a social network to an all encompassing media hub. More so than Twitter or Facebook. Why?
Channels resemble a cable-like experience
On social networks, you can go to individual brand pages but most likely consume content on that platform's news feed. Snapchat is a little different. I see more parallels with how they organize your friends' stories alongside their Discover content channels the same way a cable provider organizes channels for your TV. It's easier to skim through and consume the content you want to see without being dictated what to see via an algorithm.
Regular people are now media too
It's weird to think about but normal people are media too. Someone my age (maybe more on the Gen Z level) are likely just as interested to see a video their friend made as they are the latest news from ESPN. They have the ability to seamlessly shift from personal to brand back to personal content without feeling out of place. It's a natural want or need for future generations of mobile users to want to see everything in one spot.
A rising appetite for "flawsome" content
This may change over time but there is a growing interest in content that isn't perfect and polished. Content that looks a little more raw. We saw this with YouTube videos out of the gate. We're seeing this with the growing popularity of reality TV and the rawness (however genuine is actually isn't) that comes with that.
Snapchat offers that from a user perspective. People are less filtered (pun kinda intended) on Snapchat since the memories aren't archived forever on your profile like an Instagram picture. That's why people take so much time and care in creating the perfect Instagram photo - it's on your profile forever...you're constantly creating a larger body of work. There's more of an appetite for quick, not-polished content on Snapchat. Brands have and will likely continue to follow suit on that trend with their content as well.
We'll see if that's a trend that sticks (YouTube/Twitter/Facebook content became more polished with time) but time will tell.
Snapchat is the first true mobile-exclusive hub
Every social network has a desktop component. While Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram all have mobile apps, they all offer a desktop experience. All of their video content is made for a horizontal viewing experience (at least the non-annoying videos).
Snapchat has stuck with the vertical format for all their content. It was an adjustment at first but it provides a great mobile experience. While using their app, I'm not having to consistently shift from holding my phone from vertical, to horizontal, back to vertical again depending on whatever post I'm viewing. I can view anything without any rotating effort. It's very much a first world problem but that ease of use makes a big difference over time. At least I think it will.
What's in the future?
While I don't believe any of this has been written about in the past, I have a few guesses as to features that could come to Snapchat, further establishing it as a true mobile media hub:
Recording snaps, whether friends or Discover channel, the same way you use a DVR
- Live sports streaming...which will be tricky to see depending on the sport
- Exclusive Discover channels that you have to PPV
- Ad-free subscriptions
While it's still a viable medium for keeping up with and chatting with friends, I hesitate to call Snapchat just another social network. I think it's truly positioning itself to be a mobile-exclusive media hub. I don't see it being a "Facebook killer" but really creating a space of its own like it has so far.
What do you think?