Snapchat has stepped up its TV offerings in the UK with the launch of new strategic partnerships with key media brands through Snapchat Shows, the app’s video platform.

Today, the photo sharing app announced that it will be launching 25 series from 17 of well-known UK media brands. The line-up includes a variety of five to seven-minute programmes, ranging from light-hearted comedy content to hard-hitting docu-style series. Offerings include Fake or For Real from The Guardian, Hotspots from Sky News and Beyond Beauty and Most Expensivest from VICE, as well as content from new media players such as Culture Trip, COPA90 and Boiler Room.

Snap first launched its Snapchat Shows feature in the US two years ago, offering serialised video content that is “TV-like in the way it presents itself but made for mobile” explains Remi Saad, head of international content partnerships at Snap.

Despite rapidly expanding the content available through its Discover feature, Snapchat’s fall from grace even among its core gen-Z demographic has been well documented. Earlier this month, Snap shares reached an all-time low, falling to just $7.04 a share, after facing increasing competition from Facebook since Instagram launched its ‘Stories’ feature in 2016.

Snapchat Shows designed to keep users for longer

At the launch of the new partnerships, Saad outlined Snap’s strategy of offering high-quality vertical content in an attempt at keeping its users on its app for longer and driving ad revenue:

“We value authoritative and credible content, we value this over popular content… we really believe that bringing authoritative and credible brands that are responsible in the way they use their voice is really important to us.”

Expanding its UK-made content may therefore be an attempt by the ailing app to retain its dwindling audience. Last week, Snapchat reported a drop in the number of daily active users, which fell from 188 million to 186 million.

By increasing the amount of local content available, and sourcing it from brands with an established following, the app may be able to diversify its offerings, establishing itself as a player in the vertical video market. Saad said:

“We’ve always believed in localisation, localising content within a market pretty directly impacts and influences engagement metrics that users have with the app, and it’s within our belief that these partners that we’ve partnered with are why we’ve been able to grow a large audience, an audience that’s really engaged, and an audience that’s really loyal to that content and keeps coming back for more.”

Despite doubts over the app’s future, Snapchat Shows has had some success since its launch in the US, with NBC News’ Snapchat show attracting 30 million unique viewers per month. Saad hopes that the success Shows has demonstrated in the US can be translated to the UK:

“We’ve seen a lot of success with launching the Shows format in the US… Ever since we began focusing on bringing the Snapchat Shows format to Snapchatters in the US market, what we’ve seen is more than triple the time spent on Shows from the beginning of the year until today. This is a very clear signal that this content format is a format that users are really interested in.”

“The format’s really proved that it’s going to bring some great engagement, and that’s what we hope to achieve in the UK as well.”

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Appealing to the core demographic

One of Snap’s new media partners is Gleam Futures, a talent management company whose clientele include Youtuber stars Zoella, Tanya Burr and Jack Maynard. Through the partnership, shows featuring popular content creators Marcus Bulter and Lewys Ball will be available via the app, a clear attempt to appeal to the app’s core demographic of 12 to 17 year olds. Through featuring content from influences with a large young audience, Snap may be able to attract their loyal following.

If successful, this may provide a much-needed boost for the company, which has reported a decline in revenue growth in recent quarters, after an unpopular redesign saw its first-ever decline in daily users since its launch.

Through its foray into the world of mobile video, Snap is putting itself in direct competition with the likes of Facebook, which launched its own video platform, Watch, rolling out live and pre-recorded episodic TV content, produced for the company by partners.

A few weeks ago, Snap announced the launch of Snap Originals, scripted dramas produced specifically for the platform, suggesting that Snap may also be attempting to reposition itself as a Netflix-esque service.

The Snapchat Shows value proposition

In terms of funding, Snap revealed that it is not yet providing funding for the content produced by its partners. This differs from Facebook’s strategy, with the social media giant offering funding to partners such as ABC News and CNN to crate content for its video platform Facebook Watch.

With the new local content comes new opportunities for advertisers. Snap has confirmed that it will generate advertising revenue through six-second non-skippable ‘commercials’, but has not disclosed how revenue will be split between the app and its partners.

Whether Snapchat Shows will attract and retain the audience it needs to thrive remains to be seen, but Saad believes that it has the potential to offer a lucrative opportunity for advertisers, claiming that the US-made content currently available through Shows has already drawn a UK audience of five million:

“In the UK specifically, if you’re an advertiser today and you want to target snapchatters watching shows, shows that are already on the platform that are US shows, you have a monthly addressable reach. What that metric basically means is that if you want to run Snap ads, the ads manager tool allows you to reach approximately five million monthly unique users.”

Lucy Lendrem, Head of Talent UK at Gleam Futures, believes that this is a step into the unknown, as it is not yet clear whether the venture will actually make money. However, she appeared optimistic about the opportunity to reach new audiences through the platform:

 “We’ve never done it before. We have no idea if the talent will make any money, and that’s not why their doing it. It wasn’t a hard sell for us and the boys [Marcus Butler and Lewys Ball].They were really excited about the opportunities to reach new audiences.”