Snapchat, Seeking Ad Revenue, Launches Partnerships With 25 Media Companies

CNN, NBC join newcomers like LADbible and Wave on Our Stories collaboration

The company wants to look more attractive to advertisers. Snapchat/Adweek
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Today Snapchat parent company Snap, Inc. announced new partnerships with 25 media companies to create daily content for its Our Stories product.

These partners, which range from traditional media outlets and longtime Snap partners like CNN and NBC to digital publishers like Refinery29 and LADbible, influencer platform Whalar and sports media upstart Wave, will release daily editorial units that mix their own original material with user-generated content drawn from Snapchat’s millions of active users around the world.

Perhaps most importantly, these new content streams will provide Snapchat with another opportunity to serve programmatic ads to those users. Each media partner will also take an undisclosed portion of the resulting revenue.

"If publishers use content submitted by Snap users from all over the world to create stories, the byproduct will be better viewership and engagement.”
—Brian Verne, CEO, Wave

It’s going to be a different experience than the traditional kind of publisher experience that exists on Snapchat today,” said Brian Verne, CEO of Wave, which currently claims to be the fourth-largest sports publisher on social media. “Their Our Stories portal will be opened up to exclusive publishing partners, one of which is us. If publishers use content submitted by Snap users from all over the world to create stories, the byproduct will be better viewership and engagement. As a value proposition for advertisers, that would seemingly be a more premium product. That’s why we were so excited.”

The idea is to make it easier for these publishers to monetize the content they curate for Snapchat while giving them more creative freedom on the platform.

“It’s a revenue agreement between publishers and Snap, but they are handling all the inventory,” said Ashley Codianni, executive producer for social and emerging media at CNN Worldwide. “There will be ads inserted into the stories.”

Codianni noted that these stories will have no universal format or length, predicting that they will change day-to-day.

“When this proposition came forward, a few things made it a natural fit. I have a social discovery team whose job is to identify and curate UGC content,” she continued. The new arrangement includes a dashboard tool enabling them to more easily facilitate these narratives.

"I still think it’s a platform that a younger audience is actively using and engaged on. It also doesn’t hurt that there are ad units available.”
—Ashley Codianni, executive producer for social and emerging media, CNN Worldwide

A party with direct knowledge of the new arrangement also said that, for the first time, Snap’s media partners will have access to the Our Stories API portal that had been exclusively available to the company’s own in-house team. In other words, CNN and others can stitch together the material created by journalists around the world who are already active on Snapchat with publicly submitted UGC content from the estimated 3 billion snaps created every day while adding custom graphics, text or other elements.

Additionally, each piece of content will have a unique, shareable URL via the Stories Everywhere feature so the partners can simultaneously publish on other platforms.

The news comes amid reports that Snapchat is losing users to Instagram, which essentially copied its primary feature for Instagram Stories just over two years ago. (Unlike Snapchat, Instagram does not have a built-in platform for publishers to monetize their content.)

Shares also fell on the news that chief strategy officer Imran Khan would be leaving the company, yet CNN and Wave both remain bullish on Snap.

“As an emerging media brand, you need to be everywhere,” said Verne, who told Adweek that his company shares Snap’s conviction that the future of media is a “decentralized model” that’s more reliant on content created by its own audience. “I think the results speak for themselves in terms of viewership.”

Codianni said, “I still think it’s a platform that a younger audience is actively using and engaged on. So how we contribute and distribute [our] exceptional journalism and narratives is still valuable.”

“It also doesn’t hurt that there are ad units available,” she added.

Matt Dornic, vp of communications and digital partnerships at CNN, said Snapchat has not yet confirmed an official launch date for the new Our Stories feature.

A Snapchat spokesperson declined to comment on the news.

The full list of media partners is as follows:

  • Brut
  • CNN
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Daily Mail
  • Daquan Gesese
  • Dodo
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • iHeart
  • The Infatuation
  • Jukin Media
  • LADbible
  • Love Stories TV
  • Mic
  • NBC News
  • NBC Sports
  • NBC, Today Show
  • New York Post
  • NowThis News
  • Overtime
  • Refinery29
  • Telemundo
  • The Tab
  • Viacom
  • Wave
  • Whalar

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.