Snapchat Offers Select Publishers New Path to Monetization With Curated Stories

Partners at launch will include CNN, NBC News, Group Nine Media, Jukin Media and Viacom

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Snap Inc. is giving select publishers a new way to increase the value of their “Our Story” content on Snapchat by allowing them to aggregate public posts into the mix while monetizing the content, the company announced Thursday.

In the coming weeks, 20-plus well-known media partners — such as CNN and NowThis — will be given the ability to curate Our Stories covering areas of editorial expertise using public posts. Under the new partnerships, publishers will be able to source publicly-submitted video and photo Snaps, while adding editorial context like graphics or text to finalize an Our Story.

For example, if CNN is reporting on an event taking place on Capitol Hill, it will be able to search and use publicly available posts from Snapchatters related to the topic and then mix in its own commentary. The idea is that the user-generated content (UGC) will enhance the quality and authenticity of the posts, enticing users to stay on the platform longer and come back more often.

“Creating authentic, compelling content for Snap’s unique audience has been core to Group Nine’s strategy from day one. We’re proud to operate Discover channels for NowThis, The Dodo and Thrillist; have numerous shows across all our brands; and to be an official breaking news partner for Snap with NowBreaking,” said Ben Lerer, CEO, Group Nine Media. “This new curation tool allows us the opportunity to lean even more heavily into what we do best — being part of the conversation and telling authentic stories that resonate deeply with young people.”

Snapchat, which monetizes its Our Stories feature through pre- and mid-roll ads, will share the ad revenue with its curation partners for the Stories they produce. The company did not give specifics on the exact split.

The new partner-curated Stories is an extension of Our Stories, which the company launched in 2015. Assembled by Snap’s in-house editorial team, the content is viewed by millions each day. According to Snap, more than 75 million people have watched Our Stories on Snapchat’s Discover in the past month alone.

At launch, partners include: Brut, CNN, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, Daquan, Dodo, Harper’s Bazaar, iHeart, The Infatuation, Jukin, Lad Bible, Love Stories TV, Mic, NBC News, NBC Sports, NBC, Today Show, New York Post, NowThis, Overtime, Refinery 29, Telemundo, The Tab, Viacom, Vice, Wave.TV and Whalar.

The announcement comes after a rough week for Snap. The company’s shares dropped to a new all-time low of $9 on Wednesday, with Wall Street analysts raising concerns over a decline in daily active users (DAU) and the exit of high-ranking executives.

Part of its struggle to hold onto user engagement is the competition it’s facing from Instagram, which has a number of features similar to those of Snapchat. Launched in 2016, Instagram Stories already has 400 million DAUs, more than double the 191 million DAU visiting Snapchat Stories.