3. Snapchat grows up
Snapchat, which has said nothing official about its plans to go public, has scheduled an employee Q&A session for Thursday, Axios' Dan Primack scoops. This'll be the first chance for the rank and file to ask about Snap's initial public offering — expected in the next few months, and sure to be one of the big, exciting deals of the year.
Snapchat has quickly become one of the most powerful platforms in media, with 150 million daily active users, two-thirds of whom create content each day. Snapchatters watch 10 billion videos a day, and Nielsen says Snapchat reaches 41% of 18-34-year-olds in the U.S.
Despite those muscular metrics, Snapchat will have to work to convince investors that it's a durable business, not a fad. Snap Inc.'s business side was slow to catch up with the phenomenon, but the company has taken a rapid-fire series of steps to reassure the investors it will soon be courting:
- An updated app was rolled out last week, aimed at making it easier to understand how Snapchat works.
- Snapchat is beefing up metrics to try to prove more clearly to advertisers that ads work, and adding professional content, including ABC Disney's "Watch Party: The Bachelor" and ESPN's "College Game Day."
- Michael Lynton said Friday he is stepping down as CEO of Sony Entertainment to be Snap Inc.'s full-time board chairman. Lynton, 57, is more than twice as old as CEO Evan Spiegel, adding seasoning and maturity to the leadership team.
- Rick Stengel, the former top editor of TIME and Obama's Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, has joined Snap as a senior adviser.
Scoop … Facebook adds a well-known operative: Tucker Bounds — co-founder of Sidewire, the online conversation platform — is stepping away from his operational role and returning to Facebook, where he was director of corporate communications from 2011 to 2014. Tucker, who'll keep his seat on the Sidewise board, starts Jan. 30 as Communications Director, focused on product communications, specifically on News Feed.