Snapchat has been on a mission this year to validate its business model. A key component of the strategy has been to make Snapchat a content destination and to offer unique advertising products. However, it seems the initiative to create original content has gone bust, and Snapchat had decided to shut down Snap Channel. The company is also reportedly laying off the team behind Snap Channel.
Snap Channel was originally part of the Snapchat Discover program that led users to interesting content. When the service launched in January several independent and corporate participants seemed excited to produce content. But the service was put on hiatus a few weeks ago and doesn’t appear to be coming back.
Snapchat ventured into ad-supported content with the January rollout of its revenue-generating Discover platform, which features articles and videos from 15 media brands, including ESPN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, CNN, National Geographic, Vice and Yahoo.
Original content is pretty expensive, so it’s not so surprising that Snapchat decided to put Snap Channel on ice. It’s hard to make any definitive statements about the success of the venture up until this point. However, Wired contributor Davey Alba noted that Snapchat may have realized just how hard it is to create original content, particularly because of the limitations of the platform.
By contrast, Alba wrote:
Netflix may be killing it with its original programming, but the company has the advantage of working with traditional studios in more conventional, longer formats.
This is by no means a death-blow to the concept of in-house content production on social, nor does it indicate that Snapchat is in trouble. According to the Los Angeles Times, Snapchat is still hiring in other areas, and shows no signs of slowing growth.
Perhaps shuttering Snap Channel after only nine months is a smart move. The ability to recognize when something isn’t working and move on quickly is important for protecting the future financial health of any startup.
Readers: What do you think of this decision?