Like YouTube, Snapchat is getting content networks

If there’s a social platform with hundreds of million of users, you can bet someone will try to build a business on top of it. It was the case with YouTube, where an entire ecosystem of “multichannel networks” (MCNs) rose up to help endemic creators make money. The same is now happening on Snapchat.

Los Angeles-based Naritiv, launched in 2014 out of the Disney Accelerator program, is building a multifaceted business that mimics YouTube MCNs. Naritiv offers Snapchat’s emerging star class — including talents like Mike Platco and Shaun McBride — representation and access to brands. For brands, its services include brand management and tech tools to grow their presence on the platform. The company claims 5 billion views per month and brand clients ranging from ABC Family to Marriott International.

“Mobile content and mobile branded content was a real focus for us from the beginning,” said Daniel Altmann, co-founder and CEO of Naritiv.

Naritiv has 120 creators in its network. Some of them are exclusively represented by the company, which uses a variety of means to find and sign the right influential talent. Several are established social media stars on YouTube who have expanded to Snapchat; some are native to the platform.

“We are also in the business of finding new, undiscovered creators and helping them grow,” said Altmann.

Snapchat doesn’t provide an easy way to search for its most influential users (a ranking system might be something Naritiv offers down the road, said Altmann). For now, though, it means scouring Snapchat as well as blogs and forums to see who the platform’s users are raving about the most.

“There is a lower barrier of entry to be a creator on Snapchat than, frankly, on YouTube and Vine, where there is an expectation of a higher production value,” said Altmann. “For Snapchat, the more natural and connected to your life your content is, the better you do.”

With influencer campaigns, Naritiv and its creators will often “take over” a brand’s channel, as was the case with ABC Family and its Snapchat channel for its hit series “Pretty Little Liars.” ABC Family wanted to build a presence on Snapchat. The network enlisted Naritiv and Snapchat artist Mike Platco to create content and do Snapchat commentary about the show as he watched it. Launched in January, the channel now has 1.3 million followers and is being used to drive awareness for other ABC Family programming.

Snapchat Pretty Little Liars Naritiv
Here are the type of “snaps” fans of “Pretty Little Liars” love on Snapchat.

Marriott used Naritiv to program and measure the reach and influence of a campaign called “Travel Brilliantly,” which followed social stars such as Casey Neistat, Louis Cole and Shaun McBride (another native “Snapper”) as they traveled around a city (while staying at a Marriott hotel) and documented the experience using the messaging app.

“It outperformed anything else we’ve done on Snapchat or any other social platform in terms of engagement, with users watching videos all the way through and responding to the content,” said David Beebe, vp of global creative and content marketing for Marriott International. He declined to provide specific numbers; Altmann said the campaign “got tens of millions of views.”

Just as YouTube MCNs eventually started to dip their toes in producing and owning some of their own content, Naritiv has similar ambitions. The company plans to launch original channels tailored to the topics and interests that Snapchat users gravitate to. Here, the company is staffing its creators to develop content for the channels.

The benchmarks for Naritiv, rather unsurprisingly, are AwesomenessTV and Vice — two companies that have succeeded in building recognizable content brands on the Web. “There is a unique opportunity to build brands and create content for those brands on Snapchat where on other platforms it’s kind of too late,” said Altmann.