Snapchat Launches Local Channel for New Yorkers

Users in the Big Apple can see and contribute to 'Our Story'

The New York City channel is now live on Snapchat.

One of the app's most popular features, its Local section used widely on college campuses, is now giving New Yorkers a way to send snaps to one big "Our Story," creating a quick montage of what's happening all around town.

Snapchat has offered a similar experience for many universities, and the feature has graduated to larger cities recently. TechCrunch recently spotted the Local Our Story feature in Los Angeles.

Today, just in time for TGIF, New Yorkers were uploading their Snapchat videos to the local stream, including one shot that captured Rihanna leaving a building in front of a horde of paparazzi and one filmed outside NBC's Today Show, which shoots at Rockefeller Center.

These Our Story videos only allow people within a certain location to share and view the channel. Snapchat also hosts occasional worldwide or national stories during events like New Year's Eve and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It's all part of the growth of the platform from an app designed to send rapidly disappearing pics to friends to a place for mobile entertainment and mainstream media. Earlier this year, Snapchat launched Discover channels for media partners to post their content and sell ad space like commercial breaks in the action.

Snapchat also has sold sponsorships appearing among user-generated videos in the stories from around the world.

Snapchat has more than 100 million regular users, and they view videos sometimes more than a billion times a day, according to sources. It's this kind of scale that Snapchat is selling advertisers and media companies, with whom it shares ad revenue from Discover.

Just this week, tech site re/code reported that Snapchat Discover media partners—including Cosmopolitan, ESPN, Comedy Central and Vice—command 10 cents a view for ads on their channels and can generate a million views a day.

Snapchat has been focused on selling ad space on Discover and its Our Story channels. It also has sold Sponsored Updates that appear in users' Snapchat feeds just like a friend's message.

Snapchat is asking for $750,000 a day for ad deals, according to multiple marketing sources, and it has stayed firm on this premium rate to reach its youthful audience.

The Snapchat proposition intrigues marketers, but many say they are reluctant to spend big there yet. The app has its limits in terms of targeting capabilities and reporting on the effectiveness of the ads, a number of marketing sources have said.

Many brands instead partner with Snapchat power users to appear in their content.

For instance, famous Snapchatter Jerome Jarre, who first gained popularity as a Vine star, was in Paris for Fashion Week this week. His Snaps from the event included clips hanging out with Ben Stiller as he announced a sequel to the 2001 comedy Zoolander with an all-out social media charge.

Also this week, Snapchat's CEO Evan Spiegel was in Saudi Arabia meeting with Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, reportedly about investing in a $500 million fundraising round that would include China's e-commerce company Alibaba contributing $200 million, valuing Snapchat at $15 billion.


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