When Snap — formerly known as Snapchat — filed its IPO earlier this year, CEO Evan Spiegel and his peers insisted that going forward the popular photo-messaging app be known as a camera company. Today’s big announcement from Snap — a new show in partnership with NBC News — makes it seem like in addition to being a camera company, Snap might be trying to be a television network, too.
Called Stay Tuned, the show will air twice a day and cover daily news stories in short segments. (Think two to three minutes. Four, tops.) The show will be hosted by NBC News and MSNBC News reporters Savannah Sellers and Gadi Schwartz. And if you think it’s weird that Snap, known best as a slightly forbidding zone of teen obsession, is producing a news show, you don’t know teens very well. “There’s a huge appetite for news content from our audience,” Snap’s head of original content, Sean Mills, told Select All. Mills noted that during a single 24-hour period on Election Day, 35 million people watched Snap stories. “We want this new show to feel very self-contained. Our viewers can go here [Snap] and see something, see all the most important news stories.” Because of the short format, Mills told Select All viewers can expect the show to be “visual” and “made in such a way that it’s not necessarily a lean-back experience.” Shows will populate each day on the app’s Discover tab.
This isn’t Snap’s first foray into the television space. The company launched shows on Discover back in the summer of 2016. (The Voice on Snap was recently nominated for an Emmy, a first for the company.) Its election-based show, Good Luck America, served as a research and development opportunity for the company in plotting content for Stay Tuned. (That show is currently in its second season.) “They [Snap viewers] love stories about issues that impact them,” Mills said. “Climate change, gun violence, how to pay for college. Stories that are maybe not just what they’re seeing in terms of the left and right screaming-match on cable.” Snap’s main audience “skews a little younger.” (Seventy-five percent of people who watch Snap’s shows are between the ages of 13 and 24.) The average user, Mills said, opens the app 18 times each day. Now, it’s just a matter of seeing how many, if any, of those 18 daily interactions translate to engagement with Snap’s new show. Stay Tuned premieres at 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday, July 19, and shows are expected to air at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, with a single show at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.