CNN is giving up on its Snapchat news show, which launch only four months ago. “The Update,” as the program was called, had been designed for Snapchat’s vertical video format, but didn’t feature video produced only for Snapchat, nor did it have dedicated anchors. Instead, the news featured on “The Update” was a curated selection of CNN’s reporting from its reporters and correspondents worldwide, which was then edited into a roughly 3-minute long format with around five stories.
According to The WSJ, which was first to report the show’s ending, the issue at hand was the show’s potential path to profitability – or rather, the lack thereof. The news network had been one of Snapchat’s launch partners for Discover – a deal that had included licensing fees for its content. But with those fees soon going away, the only avenue to monetization was ad sales, the report said. The implication here is that there wasn’t enough incoming ad revenue to continue to support the show’s further production.
CNN confirmed to TechCrunch it will stop producing the daily show in 2018, but said this doesn’t represent the end to its experiments with Snapchat, or its other plans to publish to Snapchat’s platform.
Snap and CNN also issued a joint statement about the decision to stop production on “The Update,” which said:
“Snap and CNN have built a great partnership over the years and our teams have enormous admiration for each other. We plan to keep working together and mutually decided to hit pause as we explore the best opportunities for doing that. Our relationship will very much be continuing.”
CNN’s news show launched in late August, shortly after NBC News reported early success with its twice-daily show “Stay Tuned,” which was watched by more than 29 million unique viewers in its first month.
However, NBC had taken a different approach to Snapchat – its program is hosted by two dedicated anchors, Gadi Schwartz and Savannah Sellers, for starters. It runs through some five major news and pop culture stories largely sourced from other NBC News programs, but also brought on on-camera guests and did on-the-ground reporting, at times.
The audience captured by “Stay Tuned” is very young, NBC said earlier this year, with 60 percent of its audience under the age of 25.
NBC News told us the show is still going well, reaching “tens of millions” of unique viewers per month, now two-thirds of whom are under 25.
The majority of viewers watch the entire show without skipping through ads, NBC also said.
“We launched this show to reach a new audience. And we’ve been successful in that endeavor, as is evidenced by the tens of millions of under-25 year olds that watch the show every month,” said Nick Ascheim, SVP of digital at NBC News Group. “It’s not easy to do. It requires a different skill set, which we found in the stellar team we put together, it requires close collaboration with a partner, which we have with Snapchat, and it requires perseverance and a willingness to adapt.”
NBC and CNN aren’t the only news outlets in Snapchat’s Discover section. Others include The Washington Post, VICE, NowThisNews, BuzzFeed, The WSJ, Wired, The NYT, The Economist, and Mashable.