Snapchat Discover One Year Later: How 23 Media Companies Are Building Stories For Evan Spiegel

Smart phone apps and social media sites have found creative new ways to spread news in the past couple years. This article discusses the growth of Snapchat’s “Discover” feature, since its launch in January 2015. Publishers are still facing issues with formatting, as news stories have to fit the vertical layout; investment, since consumers do not pay for snapchat; and what stories to choose to fit short attention spans. Since Discover is targeted toward millennials, my questions for you are: How often, if ever, do you use discover? Does Discover “work,” given the 10 second max video principle of snapchat? Is there enough information available for Discover to be a substantial news source?

I appreciate Kerry Flynn’s focus on facts and statistics, but was this article an accurate depiction of Discover’s success? Could Flynn have spoken to anyone, or added anything, to make this a better story?

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9 Responses to “Snapchat Discover One Year Later: How 23 Media Companies Are Building Stories For Evan Spiegel”

  1. I was surprised to hear that Discover is such a big moneymaker for Snapchat, because I have never used that part of the app. For me, Snapchat is a way to connect with my friends, not to view content curated by companies. It is interesting how much businesses need to adapt to fit Snapchat, like adjusting the video layout and length. Social media platforms come and go, and companies invest are investing a lot in an app that may or not remain popular. I think that Snapchat’s Discover feature could be used to introduce people to a news topic, but not as their main source of news. 10 seconds is not enough time to explain stories in depth.
    I think that the author of the article should have explained what Snapchat is and how it works earlier. Many people do not use Snapchat, so jumping right into discussing this specific feature of the app without providing background information is confusing for these people. The author also does not explain what Discover is, and how it differs from the other videos and pictures in the app. The inclusion and statistics and quotes adequately highlighted Discover’s success and I definitely learned a lot about this feature from the article, but if I was not already familiar with Snapchat and Discover, I would have been lost.

  2. I found this topic to be fascinating, especially since I am involved with media effects research related to Facebook right now. Admittedly, I use Snapchat every day. I am basically addicted to viewing peoples’ stories, posting my own stories, and individually Snapchatting my friends. With that being said, I rarely use the Discover feature; in fact, I do not really understand how to effectively use it. After realizing there is a 10 second maximum viewing time, I would assume the feature is not as effective as the company hoped. Not everyone is a quick reader, and some people like to re-read for clarification. I am sure the feature informs many millennials about important topics, but I think users would have to search the topic elsewhere to get enough information to form an opinion.

    I agree that the facts and statistics were helpful in understanding the progress of Discover, but the depiction of the feature’s success was biased. I found that the article favored the feature and was essentially promoting it. The article did go pretty in-depth about the app’s history and other important features, such as finances, which I found to be interesting. Many relevant sources were included, but I think it would have been cool if a quote from a millennial who uses Snapchat was incorporated into the story. They speak of this age group, but do not include direct insight from them. Instead, they use statistics to speak on their behalf.

  3. I found this article very interesting, and I know I am the odd one out within the millennials, but I do not use snapchat on a regular basis and have never used the Discover feature. I don’t think that 10 seconds would be enough, however, to actually depict a news story. I do not understand how this could possibly catch on because how much information could someone really get that quickly. This could work to give little blurbs about news topics, but it would not work to be the primary source of news for someone who was not going to look up the topics after in order to find out more information.

    I don’t think the author did a good job of explaining exactly what Discover is or adding any context. It seemed as though the author automatically assumed that the people reading the article would be users of the feature. I did like all of the statistics that were included and felt that this approach was really what the author was going for, however, it would have been nice to hear what users of the feature have to say about it and if they think it is successful or not and how it should be improved for the future.

  4. I loved that they included the timeline in the piece to document how Snapchat has grown in such a quick amount of time. The only way that the article could have covered the subject any better is maybe thinking of a less-cheesy intro to the article than Jay-Z’s most famous lyric. Besides that, maybe getting a celebrity or someone featured on the app to share their experience. However, as far as the structure of the article, the article kept me engaged from beginning to end.

    I use discover every once in a while, when I see a sports event that they are covering I am interested in. The last discover I checked was when Cleveland played Golden State in basketball. It was much more unique of an experience than seeing the sports highlights on ESPN, as when you watch it on TV you definitely feel a step removed from the event they are showing (the audio is a big factor). Discover really does allow you to experience the event so much closer than you normally would.

  5. As someone who uses the Discover feature somewhat frequently, I primarily view the Wall Street Journal, Food Network, and CNN channels. I would estimate I probably use the Discover feature maybe around 1-3 times a week. Typically, I will use Discover when I am bored or am just browsing through my phone during down time. I would not characterize my use of Discover as routine; instead I would say it is more sporadic. In my experience, from the channels I have viewed, the content appears to be somewhat newsy, however Discover would not be a sufficient source of news on its own in respect to hard news stories. Instead, I would say that the Discover feature is more effective as a source for soft news stories and interest pieces. Additionally, the discover feature of Snapchat allows you to view articles for an unlimited amount of time, so the 10 second limitation that is placed on actual Snapchats is not really relevant in that respect.

    In terms of the actual article and writing, I think it does well in opening up the discussion about the success of Discover. The author does well to highlight that the Discover feature of Snapchat is a novel feature that is gaining traction in terms of popularity and viewership. However, I agree that the article appears to lack one important element in that it seems to lack feedback from consumers/viewers, which, to me, is probably one of the most important elements in the review of a product or service.

  6. As a non-millennial, I was not aware of Discover. And I found it interesting that the article, in its brevity, reflected the type of stories that it was discussing in the piece. I also hadn’t heard of International Business Times. Though I welcome innovative mechanisms for delivering news, there’s no way I could ever find this lede acceptable: Snapchat may have a few problems, but Discover ain’t one. If this type of writing is the future, I’m worried! In this media revolution, what I find so encouraging is the ways that different types of news outlets are being invented to fill niches we didn’t even know existed. Discover was unheard of not so long ago. Now millennials seem to be flocking to it. The question is: which types will have staying power? During your news room tour this week, it will be interesting to observe the many ways that a once traditional print operation is evolving to compete with so many new sources of news that appeal to millennials.

  7. For many of the channels, including CNN, ESPN, Buzzfeed, etc. 10 second videos are not enough to convey the information that is normally put out by these companies. However, these discovery channels have made a loophole for themselves. From the 10 second video which gives you a headline, you can swipe to an article and read more on the subject. So, if used correctly by viewers, this can be just as effective a news source as the original sources, though more restricted in its variety. Until reading this article, I saw the discovery feature as untouched, only used by those who were bored to death and left with nothing else to do. However, the number of views that this feature pumps out, as shown by the article, is astounding, and certainly must be impactful for every company that uses it.

    The article does a great job of including the perspectives of various media companies that now have snapchat channels. However, the article as a whole has an outsiders perspective. It would have been nice to hear from those at snapchat who developed this idea, how they see the idea now, and where they see it going. Instead, the article focuses on the outside companies that use this feature.

  8. I was aware of Discover before this article but have never used it. I do not have Snapchat currently, but when I did have the app a year ago I did not use Discover. I found it to be too time consuming for the amount of information it was giving. I personally do not like to be attached to my phone and this was a problem I had with the application as well- it is addicting! I think Snapchat, then, is a smart resource for media outlets and companies to use to reach a large audience. Many young people today are using the app and so I believe it is a great way for the news to be disseminated among a younger audience. That being said, I think it is interesting to note that the Wall Street Journal recently hopped on the Snapchat/Discover train as I wonder who their audience is going to be. I do not know what type of news or information they plan on dispersing through Snapchat, but I am sure they have a plan on who they are targeting. I do believe that Discover is a viable idea because it is part of a movement that will continue on in the future (even though I myself will not personally be participating… at least not yet). I think Discover’s inclusion of politics is an especially smart idea in the year 2016 and we will hopefully see younger populations being more involved with politics due to media platforms such as this one. I think in this way it could be very revolutionary.

  9. I really like this article because I am a HUGE snap chatter. With that being said I understood exactly what the author was saying because the app appeals to people within my age range but I think the article would have been better if the author did some preliminary explanations about exactly what the app is, does, etc. for people that are less familiar. In terms of the frequency that I use the discover option, let’s just say that my life must be at an all time of low of boredom (which never happens) before I use the discover feature, so I was pretty shocked to see that it was doing so well. Also from my understanding the Discover option also incorporated short news articles as well, at least from a CNN context. I thought that getting an account of each group that participates in the discover feature was a nice perspective. In terms of the graph that’s found in the middle of the article I was wondering when they say daily video views, if they are speaking only in terms of the discover feature or the app holistically. If that reference is holistic then that somewhat takes away from the overall message of the trends in the discover feature, and if it is supposed to reference discover it should say that. I’m also not so sure if I’m convinced about the success of the discover feature. Maybe it’s the way the graph is portrayed, maybe it’s the fact that I don’t use it and I don’t know anyone that does, or maybe there just isn’t enough numbers in this article for me to be convinced. Not 100% what it is but at the end of the day regardless of the numbers, I’m still going to use snap chat.

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