Snapchat Discover has come a long way since its debut in January 2015. The platform started with 11 media partners and has since grown to more than 100 globally. While some publishers, such as Yahoo, Warner Music and most recently The New York Times, have left Discover, many have stuck with it. In fact, eight of the original 11 partners are still there, including Vice Media.
Despite its recent business troubles, Vice has maintained several channels on Snapchat. Vice has a daily publisher story in English and local language versions in Arabic, Deutsch and French. Vice also runs Vice Stories, which is a curated collection of snaps submitted from Snapchat users.
Digiday received the pitch deck that Vice used to pitch advertisers in London in April 2015, a few months after the channel’s launch. At the time, advertisers could buy two 10-second video ads within Vice’s channel on Snapchat. Vice was charging brands £50,000 for a package of ads that would run for three days and would be custom created by Vice’s team. As of July 2018, the ad inventory for some Discover channels, including Vice’s, can be fulfilled through a private marketplace.
Snap had big ambitions for Discover at the start. It was limited to only 11 partners, which Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and former vp of content Nick Bell carefully curated after pitch meetings. They required publishers to produce original content that was formatted as vertical video, quite unlike what they were used to. Publishers loved the exclusivity at the start and the engaged millennial audience Snapchat touted. According to the deck, Vice joined Discover because “Snapchat is the content distribution platform young people are obsessing over multiple times daily, while Vice provides the content they can’t get elsewhere and are dying to see.”
Snap still has that millennial audience, but Discover has radically expanded. What was once a collection of traditional media companies now has curated memes from Daquan, repurposed viral videos from First Media and highly produced shows from Hollywood studios. Ads prices have gotten cheaper. Publishers’ deals have changed. Some publishers like ESPN have changed from the traditional format to a show while Vice has continued to maintain a slate of channels.