Apr 12, 2022 - Technology

Scoop: Snapchat partners with 40+ newsrooms on new automated product

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Snapchat is rolling out a new product that aims to make it easier for news publishers to upload their content in real time as stories break, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The update dramatically lowers the barrier to entry for news publishers — especially at the local level — to publish on Snapchat.

Details: Beginning Tuesday, more than 40 news publishers from around the world will begin using a new feature called Dynamic Stories that lets them publish stories to Snapchat using RSS feeds, a spokesperson told Axios.

  • Examples of experimental news partners in the U.S. include CNN, ESPN, Insider, Axios, The New York Post, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, TMZ, Vice and more.
  • Internationally, The Independent and The Mirror will participate from the U.K. Femme Actuelle, Foot Mercato, Gala, Le Figaro, Marie Claire and Paris Match will participate from France, and MissMalini, GQ India and more from India.

How it works: The conversion process from stories on the web to Snapchat is automated, so that newsrooms don't need to do extra legwork.

  • Most web publishing systems today already produce RSS feeds, so publishers' content can flow directly into Snapchat Stories, which are strings of vertical pictures and text.
  • The Dynamic Stories product won't include video for now, but could in the future.

Once the stories are created, they will be available to users via Snapchat's curated content platform Discover, and will update in real time.

  • They will also be available in users' subscription feeds on Snapchat. Snapchat will also highlight the content as a part of its "Happening Now" section.

Be smart: Snap will sell vertical video ads on the new Dynamic Stories product and share some of the revenue with publishers.

  • Sources from Snap's partners, who have been in testing for months, say so far the partnership hasn't driven significant income, but it offers publishers an opportunity to reach the ever-distracted Gen Z audience.

The big picture: Snapchat has worked with news companies for years to develop custom content for its curated content platform, Discover. But previous products were more labor intensive and harder for publishers to update.

  • In 2018, Snapchat launched a new breaking news channel with NowThis, a publish targeted to millennials, exclusively for Snapchat Discover.
  • Since then, other publishers, including The Washington Post and ESPN, have also launched their own breaking news channels.

Between the lines: Snapchat has long avoided some of the regulatory scrutiny that has plagued its peers by focusing on content moderation.

  • It does not offer an open newsfeed where unvetted content can go viral to a large audience. Only verified publishers are a part of its Discover content platform.

What's next: The new product launches Tuesday. Snapchat plans to add more news partners in coming months.

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