Publishers still reeling from the Facebook news feed-pocalypse might find comfort in Snapchat. The disappearing messages app is stepping up efforts to curry favor with publishers.
On Jan. 18, Snapchat’s new platform content head Mike Su emailed publishers to introduce Snapchat longtimer Josh Stone as its new manager of media partnerships, a new role overseeing day-to-day work with Discover publishers. Su, a former exec at Snapchat Discover partner Mitú, also announced a first-time publisher summit and affirmed the platform’s strong interest in helping publishers be successful on the platform, multiple publishers confirmed. There were no details about the summit or a date set.
“As Evan [Spiegel, CEO of Snap,] mentioned on our previous earnings call, content is one of our top three priorities in 2018, and your success on Snapchat is at the heart of that. So we’re going to push harder and be more proactive with helping you succeed on Snapchat. This means finding more ways we can work together, more ways to support your business goals, and being more proactive with sharing insights and best practices to help your teams improve content quality and reach more of your audience, while continuing the support the team has already been providing,” Su wrote.
The email comes as publishers have had reason to be unsure about Snapchat. User time spent on the app has stagnated. The app just laid off about 24 people from its content division. (A source familiar with the matter said the layoffs were the result of a recent reorganization and that the company is still growing its content team.)
It’s been three years since Snapchat created the Discover section that features curated sections by a several dozen hand-picked media companies, including CNN, People and BuzzFeed. But CNN and Comedy Central have pulled back in recent months, with CNN saying the revenue wasn’t big enough, and one view is that Snapchat is worried that more publishers will flee the platform. Separate from Discover, Snapchat recently announced a redesign that would separate user content from media publishers’ and brands’ content, which could diminish those companies’ visibility in the app.
Snapchat has changed the terms of some of its Discover partnerships in a way that could limit the amount of revenue publishers can make on their Discover editions by selling ads into them. Snapchat has been steering media companies to make TV-like shows, causing text-based publishers to wonder what the future holds for them on the platform.
Snapchat wouldn’t comment on the record for this story.
Su joined Snapchat in December, so the media partnerships team has been in the works well before the Facebook news last week. But with Facebook saying it’ll deprioritize news in its news feed, publishers are looking for good news wherever they can get it.
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“They’re definitely out courting publishers,” said one publisher that got the heads-up. “I think it’s a wonderful coincidence.”
Here’s the text of the email in full:
I want to reach out and introduce myself and give you a quick update on some exciting things we have to kick off 2018!
I’ve joined [Snap vp of content] Nick Bell’s team to lead Platform Content, which includes Publisher Stories, as well as Product. As Evan mentioned on our previous earnings call, content is one of our top three priorities in 2018, and your success on Snapchat is at the heart of that.
So we’re going to push harder and be more proactive with helping you succeed on Snapchat. This means finding more ways we can work together, more ways to support your business goals, and being more proactive with sharing insights and best practices to help your teams improve content quality and reach more of your audience, while continuing the support the team has already been providing.
As part of this effort, I’m also excited to share that Josh Stone, whom many of you have worked with in the past, will be taking on a newly created role as Manager of Media Partnerships. This role was specifically created to work with our partners to deepen our strategic relationships, understand your needs and concerns, and figure out ways we can expand our partnership. As you know, Josh has been here since the early days of Snap and was integral in launching the Discover platform, so his deep knowledge and relationships across the company, his insights into the platform, and his understanding of the publishing landscape makes him uniquely suited for this role.
I’m also excited to let you know that we will soon announce our first ever Publisher Summit. While specific dates and details will follow, the goal of the summit is to provide updates on our product and platform, share best practices, hear feedback, as well as provide a networking opportunity among our publishing partners. We’ll be shaping the agenda in the coming weeks, so if there are specific things you’d like to see to get the most out of it, I would love to hear your ideas!
These moves are designed to double down on our commitment to all of you, and we believe will set us up well to help make 2018 a great year for content on Snapchat. Really excited to get to know you all and find ways we can better support you. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, and stay tuned for more details on the summit!
Sahil Patel contributed reporting