On Tuesday, The Information reported that Snapchat has plans to unveil an engagement-boosting news tab next year. Currently, users of the social media platform can access breaking news reports from a variety of outlets through the app’s Discover tab. However, the system mixes current event reporting in with other content from influencers and brands.
The firm’s forthcoming dedicated news section will present stories from trusted sources based around the world.
Boosting User Numbers and Engagement
Snapchat is introducing a new section to its platform for a few different reasons.
First, the company knows that its users enjoy checking out video content in between updates from friends, family, and assorted celebrities. The firm reported viewership of its Discover section has grown by 35 percent year-on-year. Furthermore, media analysis firm Lightspeed Partners noted that the mobile current events program like E!’s “The Rundown” and NBC’s “Stay Tuned” have attracted respectably sized audiences.
Anything that keeps consumers on Snapchat and not its rival networks is a good thing for the service. With just under 50 million monthly active users, the firm only ranks as America’s sixth most popular social media service. Becoming a dependable news source would help the app boost both its user numbers and engagement metrics.
However, Snapchat isn’t the only platform that intends to utilize the news as a growth driver.
Preparing for a Fight
Earlier this month, The Information reported that Facebook is gearing up to release its own dedicated current events section. Set to launch in October, the news tab will feature a slew of stories from the BBC, CBS News, National Geographic, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Besides increasing engagement, the firm is rolling out the new human-curated feature to combat long-standing allegations that it promotes fake news and politically biased reporting.
The social network is reportedly dedicating substantial resources to its upcoming news tab. Facebook is allegedly paying outlets $3 million a year to host their content.
Furthermore, Quibi, a streaming video service intended for mobile devices, will also feature news programming. In its June unveiling announcement, the platform revealed that its 6.5-minute news show “Daily Essentials” will air three times daily.
Lastly, Apple has also taken steps to get to the forefront of the current events-hosting business. Earlier this year, the corporation launched a service called News+. For $9.99 a month users can access content from more than 300 newspapers, magazines, and digital outlets. The company unveiled the subscription as part of its broader initiative to move away from a hardware-centric business model.
To varying degrees, all of the above-listed services and platforms are highlighting news content to attract consumers. However, as there are only so many recognized and trusted publishers, the providers will likely end up sharing identical stories from the same sources. In order to become a consumer’s default choice for a quick headline perusing, companies need to ensure that their platform’s presentation is idiomatic and compelling. To do that, firms have to spend time and money developing genuinely appealing new formats.
Only time (and not the magazine) will tell if Snapchat or one of its rivals has the patience to reinvent the news for Generation Z.