- Snapchat expanded its lineup of vertical video programming with shows from actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, tennis champion Serena Williams and comedian Kevin Hart. The new shows will roll out this summer in the image-messaging app's Discover section for influencers and professionally produced shows designed for mobile viewing, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
- Influencers including Emma Chamberlain and Rickey Thompson also are developing shows for Snapchat, as the app expands its "shows" format after forming partnerships with media brands like NBC, ABC and A&E two years ago. Snapchat expanded its programming with Snapchat Originals, but previously hadn't given creators a chance to develop their own videos for the app.
- The social media company also revealed projects from its comedy creator initiative that aims to support up-and-coming writers, performers and directors. Snapchat announced the new programming at the VidCon festival for digital video creators in Anaheim, California.
Snapchat's expanded lineup of video programming indicates that the image-sharing app is working to fulfill its pledge to work with more influencers and creators who have complained that it doesn't provide them with enough support. Parent company Snap faces competitive pressures to support influencers as rival platforms like Facebook-owned Instagram and Google's YouTube work to court creators by helping them monetize their digital content. Snap's efforts to support influencers include last month's addition of a feature that lets creators sell merchandise in the app or on a mobile website.
"Snapchat's new Creator Shows give advertisers an interesting new opportunity to align their brand message with top influencers and premium content," Carly Carson, director of social at PMG, said in emailed statements to Mobile Marketer. "Snapchat advertising has always been most successful when it feels native to the platform and we've seen video to have the biggest impact when it comes to social ads, so the combo of the two provides a prime opportunity for brands looking to make an impact."
The expanded programming lineup may help Snapchat to expand its audience and become more appealing to marketers. Researcher eMarketer in April predicted that Snapchat's U.S. user base would decline for the first time this year as mobile users spent more time on rival Instagram. While Instagram and YouTube have much bigger global audiences compared with Snapchat's user base of 190 million, Snapchat is particularly popular among young adults and teens in the U.S.
Snap claims it reaches 90% of 13- to 24-year-olds, making it more appealing to brands that want to cultivate their next generation of consumers and to creators who seek audiences they can't find among traditional media channels like TV. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, is still one of the most recognized celebrities in the world and may help Snapchat to broaden its name recognition among older generations who remember when his movies dominated the box office during the 1990s.
Snap has ramped up efforts to regain user growth after releasing a redesigned app last year that alienated many people. The company in April hosted its first partner summit to cultivate stronger support among the creative and software development communities. Snap unveiled new Snap Kit features, including capabilities that let third parties integrate Snapchat Stories into their apps. The company also revealed new augmented reality features, streamed TV shows and plans for a gaming platform.
Snap's improved prospects have started to gain attention after two years of disappointing results since its IPO. Wall Street firm Pivotal Research Group last month upgraded its rating for shares of Snap to a "buy" from a "hold," citing user growth and ad sales momentum. Snap likely will provide more insights about the effect of its latest initiatives on revenue growth and audience development when it hosts an annual shareholder meeting on July 18 and reports Q2 2019 results on July 23.