- Chung Sung-Jun/Getty
- Snapchat is launching a new feature, called “Live,” which will let users view live TV broadcasts.
- It’s going to debut alongside NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, starting on Saturday.
- CEO Evan Spiegel has said that he sees deals like this as a way for Snapchat to make a bigger dent in Facebook’s and Google’s ad marketshare.
For the first time ever, Snapchat will let you use the photo chat app to watch live television, the company announced on Wednesday. And to kick it off, Snapchat will be airing highlights from the 2018 Winter Olympics on Saturday.
Snapchat is calling the service “Live.” It allows broadcasters to air “snippets” of live content on Snapchat’s Discover section.
Snapchat’s first deal with Live is with NBCUniversal, which invested $500 million in Snapchat when the company went public. Basically, Snapchat Live will air a single clip per day of a “pivotal moment,” simultaneous with NBC’s primetime broadcast of the Olympics.
These clips will typically last 2-6 minutes, Snapchat confirmed with Business Insider. And users can opt in for push notifications when Snapchat will be showing a clip live.
- Courtesy of Snap
The announcement comes on the heels of Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company, exceeding Wall Street earnings estimates on Tuesday. At the time, CEO Evan Spiegel lauded the company’s efforts to partner with broadcasters as a way to capture some of the advertising dollars it’s been losing to Facebook and Instagram.
The Live broadcast of the Olympics won’t include advertising, The Wall Street Journal reported. But Snap told The Journal it is considering monetizing broadcasts in the future.
While it certainly could present a new revenue stream for Snapchat, not everybody is so convinced. Dan Rayburn, principal analyst at Frost and Sullivan, tells Business Insider that “it’s too early to tell” what Snap could do with this – but that because the videos are so short, it may be harder for Snapchat to display multiple ads per video.
“We’re still talking about short-form video here. This isn’t a long video where they can put in 5 or 6 different ads. So I don’t think this will impact Snap’s bottom line at all,” says Rayburn.
And yet, he says, the Olympics is a good fit for Snapchat and its audience: “It’s not surprising Snap is doing this. Look at Snap’s audience, it’s a younger demographic. They want to promote content they think will appeal to a younger crowd,” says Rayburn.
Snapchat appears to be doubling down on an already successful partnership with NBCUniversal, which produces “Stay Tuned,” an original, Snapchat-only news program. E! Network and EPSN also have partnerships for original programming on the platform.