Snapchat un­veils new shows aimed at mon­etis­ing users

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligence - By Matthew Field

SNAPCHAT has un­veiled a dozen orig­i­nal shows in an at­tempt to lure back users.

The TV-like shows, a mix of teen dra­mas and doc­u­men­taries, are shot ver­ti­cally to be watched on a smart­phone. The Snap “Orig­i­nals” will have their own sec­tion of the mo­bile app.

While Snapchat is best known for its dis­ap­pear­ing in­stant mes­sages and pic­tures, the app has had suc­cess with broad­cast shows from the likes of CBS and the NFL.

Evan Spiegel’s firm is hop­ing its push into new shows will help it tighten its grip on its teenage user base while giv­ing it a com­pet­i­tive edge over the likes of Face­book and In­sta­gram. Snapchat is bat­tling to turn its user base into cash gen­er­a­tors. Its 188m ac­tive users was down 3m in its last earn­ings re­port. Face­book’s In­sta­gram has in­creased its user base to over a bil­lion.

Snapchat said that since the start of the year it had tripled the num­ber of users watch­ing its shows. Sev­eral of its US shows reach mil­lions of users ev­ery day. Its ESPN sports show at­tracts two mil­lion views each day.

The episodes will aver­age five min­utes in length, while ad­ver­tis­ers will have the op­por­tu­nity to buy com­mer­cial spots. Some of the shows are joint ef­forts with stu­dios, but some will be fully funded by Snapchat.

In a memo to staff leaked last week, Snapchat chief ex­ec­u­tive Spiegel set out his aim to make the com­pany, which listed in 2017, prof­itable next year. Shares in Snap fell al­most 4.5pc in early trad­ing.

On Tues­day, an­a­lysts re­ported that Snapchat’s cash po­si­tion was be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult and said it may need to raise more funds if it fails to cut costs.

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