Snapchat, the popular disappearing message and storytelling service, has finally moved into the paid media game. On Tuesday, the company rolled out "Discover," a new feature which gives brands and media companies the opportunity to publish content on the app.
Snapchat announced Discover on the company's blog. "Snapchat Discover is a new way to explore Stories from different editorial teams," says the post. "It’s the result of collaboration with world-class leaders in media to build a storytelling format that puts the narrative first."
Discover will work much the same way Snapchat Stories work, with brands posting content that will disappear after 24 hours. These branded stories will be a hybrid of video, pictures and advertisements, giving partners a chance to deliver news and entertainment and, potentially, sell products.
Users will be able to access these stories voluntarily through a new interface on the Snapchat app. The first batch of media partners on the service includes CNN, ESPN, National Geographic, Food Network and Comedy Central.
For all its popularity and multibillion-dollar valuation, Snapchat has virtually no income. Supporting the people and services needed to satisfy and protect the more than 100 million people who use the app is costly. With Discover, Snapchat has found a way to get companies seeking—and willing to paying for—engagement on the app without being intrusive. It's the biggest change to the platform since its introduction in 2011, and it's a welcome one for PR and communications pros.
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