Snapchat is facing growth challenges in its home market, but it still has pockets of strong growth across the globe. Take Norway, where two-thirds of the population has a profile. Now, Snapchat is choosing the country of 5 million to roll out Snapchat Shows several weeks after the U.K.
Six media companies have launched a total of seven Snapchat Shows, including Schibsted tabloid VGTV, public broadcaster NRK, three-year-old food TV channel Matkanalen, Media247 AS, digital media agency Splay and Snapchat creator Geeohsnap. The shows are roughly five minutes long and will carry six-second unskippable ads.
Matkanalen is creating shows specifically for the platform: the media company’s first official foray into distributing content on digital.
“We’re investing quite a bit to make the best content we can,” said Øivind Lindøe, founder of Norway’s food TV channel Matkanalen. “In Norway, some of the bigger media houses on Snapchat Discover have seen it as a marketing tool. For us, it’s more than that: it’s a new way to meet and engage with audiences. And run a business.” Six people are working on Matkanalen’s Snapchat Shows.
Although, Matkanalen is the exception rather than the rule, and most Shows content is made for use on multiple platforms. Snapchat isn’t funding the shows beyond an ad-revenue share.
“You’re just praying they cover your costs,” said one source who has created pilot shows for Snapchat, adding that the platform expected at least three viewings of the content which can end up feeling excessive for short-form, low-cost content. “We’re talking about short-form budgets here, it’s not [costing] £10,000 ($12,850) a minute, you do it on the cheap. Three sets of viewings and three sets of notes, that’s a lot of notes.”
In Norway, Snapchat is the second most popular social app behind Facebook, 2.5 million people have a profile, according to stats from market research firm Ipsos. And it’s not just a hit with younger audiences, 70 percent of women between 40 and 59 have a Snapchat account. Business Insider Nordic claims, citing Ipsos, it’s a popular dating app for older people.
“On the radio you hear presenters ask for song requests via Snapchat. It’s taken over,” said Lindøe. “You don’t SMS or Skype, you meet on Snapchat.”
With such high engagement, rolling out Shows in Norway is a natural step. Snapchat says that the time spent watching shows has tripled since the beginning of the year, although it wouldn’t share from what starting point. Over a three-month period, 21 Shows reached a monthly active audience of over 10 million viewers.
Snapchat also shared that on Snapchat Discover, VGTV, which launched as the first Discover partner in 2017, has 300,000 daily unique viewers, with almost 40 percent of its audience coming back to view the edition five times a week. VGTV also has a two-year history of testing six-second ads. The publisher has previously told Digiday that Discover was still an investment, a statement echoed by a number of other Discover publishers, but the business model shows promise so media owners are still keen to put their content there.
“For broadcasters in Norway they’re finding success in using linear and social at the same time,” said Jason Mitchell, creative director at production company The Connected Set, which regularly pitches to Norwegian TV channels. Mitchell points to recent Norwegian TV shows like “Skam”, “Paradise Hotel” and “Bloggerne” which have formats and plot lines that tie in with social platforms.
“We’ll recommend clients use the platform if it’s cost effective and we can reach the target audience,” said Charlotte Granbo, creative manager in Omnicom Media Group Norway, adding that CPMs are the lowest on Snapchat, around £2 ($2.56), compared to roughly CPMs of £8 ($10.28) for Facebook in NewsFeed ads. “For next year most of our clients want to include Snapchat.”