Mar 10, 2020 NBC breaks up with Snapchat, packs $500M in an old shoe-box Read More It happened quietly... But it happened. We just found out that last year, Comcast-owned NBCUniversal sold its entire stake in Snap Inc — the Hollywood Reporter found the break-up note tucked away in a Comcast financial filing.
When Snap went public 3 years ago, NBC revealed it had invested $500M.
The OG content king wanted an in with the digital (non-cable) world of entertainment — Snap was that in. But now...
NBC has a new love interest... Streaming. And it's not just a fling. NBC has devoted over $2B to develop/launch its own streaming service, known as "Peacock". By dipping out of its Snap investment, NBC can splurge more on its own Millennial-friendly service. This drop the side-hustle, DIY-move could be a trend among content OGs:
Last week, ViacomCBS hinted that it could be selling its Simon & Schuster publishing biz (to focus on its own streaming service).
Disney sold off its FoxNet video game studio and went in hard pouring billions into its own Disney+ and Hulu.The Takeaway:Traditional media has a distribution problem... Think of media as a two-sided coin: content + distribution. A company can only be successful if it has both. NBC has spent 81 years racking up great content (cough, The Office) — but the way it traditionally distributes that content is shifting. It's main distribution channel (TV) is becoming outdated — that's why it's putting so much into its own streaming backbone. Nov 13, 2019 Instagram unveils Reels, its TikTok killer Read More The 1 billion download club... Big number, tiny membership. TikTok just got there faster than any company — just 2 years (that makes the 8 years Instagram needed look like a crawl). If you've never TikTok'd (we haven't either) here's what you should know:
More raw, less polish: Instagram is for the polished life milestone like graduation day pics. TikTok is for sharing raw videos of yourself trying to karaoke Levon the night before graduation.
Music-first: TikTok is where 2019's megahit "Old Town Road" got huge before radio even knew it.
Gen Z is addicted: Over 60% of US TikTokers are under 24 — and they spend 52 valuable minutes per day on TikTok, flipping between videos.
It's Chinese-owned: Which is causing squeamishness from US Senators worried that kids' data could get snatched by the Chinese Communist Party.
TikTok's also a threat to Zuck... User-wise, TikTok is shockingly as big as Facebook's Instagram. The last company that threatened Insta's user growth was Snapchat — so Facebook copied its core feature with "Stories." It's doing it again with TikTok, yesterday unveiling "Reels:" 15-second music-videos users make of themselves, then pop into their story. It starts in Brazil, but is expected to rollout worldwide.The Takeaway:American companies knockoff Chinese innovation, too... Facebook might as well have called this "DikDok" -- it's a straight-up copy of TikTok's core feature, a defensive move to prevent users from leaving Zuck's apps. It's usually the other way around, but this Chinese-invented social media platform is getting duplicated by America's king of social media. Oct 23, 2019 Snapchat got its groove back, but Wall Street focused on a single negative stat Read More Describe your earnings in 5 words or less... More good stats, less bad. Snap is officially enjoying its 3rd straight quarter of strong numbers that haven't disappeared yet.
Users: The number of humans snapping daily hit a record 210M, up 13% from last year.
Revenue: Between your roommate's rando snap and buddy's tailgate story was an ad from State Farm. Revenues like that rose to $446M last quarter, up 50%.
The net loss: Snap's still asking investors and lenders for money because it loses cash every quarter. But its loss shrank to just $227M, less than the $325M lost the same period last year.
What about ARPU, man?... Silicon Beach-based Snap is at the mercy of that stodgy abbrev each quarter: ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). It made $2.12 off every Snapper on average last quarter, the slowest growth in ARPU since 2017. Shareholders thought it was still mid-growth spurt, so the stock dropped 4% on the early sign that puberty is almost over.The Takeaway:The goal: Be like Twitter... Snap and Twitter are Facebook's only real social media competitors (besides TikTok, which our nephews haven't explained to us yet). And their similar userbases are both a fraction of Facebook's 1.6B who log in daily. Twitter already found sustained profitability, a passionate userbase, and a stock that doubled in the last 2 years. Snap wants in. Aug 13, 2019 Snap tries (again) with hardware: Spectacles 3 Read More Forward to your 1 friend who will actually get these... For a cool $380, they too can strut around in a pair of Snap's Spectacles 3. A limited number go on sale here in November, featuring a new HD camera to create depth perception as you semi-creepily record everyone around you. We consider the design pseudo-Coachella-geek-hipster chic.
If at first you don't succeed... spend a lot of company resources to try 2 more times. Here's the social network's timeline/quest to add hardware to its app success:
Spectacles 1 (2017): A $130-per-pair costly mistake — Snap sold them via pop-up vending machine, but made way more glasses than the 150K that were actually sold, costing it $40M.
Spectacles 2 (2018): A $150 thinner mistake — Snap made the glasses narrower and waterproof, but they didn't catch on, either.
Spectacles 3 (Now): A $380 potential mistake obsessed with augmented reality — It definitely prices out most of Snap's teen userbase, but 3D filters make your walk to work look actually interesting.The Takeaway:Friction is the problem... There's nothing wrong with a tech company testing out a wearable device like Spectacles — but Snapchat still hasn't fixed problems that make them hard to use. Example: Footage taken on Spectacles doesn't automatically transfer to your Snapchat account. (Friction). That's why over half of Spectacles 1 & 2 users quit after a month. Jul 9, 2019 Snap stock has subtly/shockingly almost tripled since February Read More Something happened over Spring Break... Snapchat changed. Parent company Snap shares have nearly tripled since February, driven by analysts upgrading their price targets for the stock. And that's been driven by Snapchat strengthening — and then flexing — the two biceps of tech apps: growth and engagement.
Left Bicep = "Growth"... The last time Snap updated us in March it had 190M daily active users. To grow beyond that, it's made two key moves:
Viral filters: That gender-swapping filter in May more than doubled the number of daily app downloads from 600K to 1.5M.
New app: Finally updating its glitchy Android app increased the number of people snapping by 6%.
Right Bicep = "Engagement"... To enhance the time users spend in the app, Snapchat launched games in April:
Bitmoji Party: Snapchat's 1st original game was deeply multi-playered so you could spend time with your friends' digitally-better-looking avatar versions of themselves.
Bitmoji Tennis: Just launched last week, the new game lets you hit a microphone button to yell at your opponent — without having to leave the app.
The Takeaway:Snapchat is covering steps #1 and #2 (growth and engagement)... Now it's gotta focus on Step #3: making money. A shocking 90% of all Americans age 13-24 use Snapchat, so the app's trying to monetize them through ads — and its revenues impressively rose 39% in the 1st quarter. But investors eventually want profits, and that means nailing step #3 as it flexes its growth and engagement. Jun 12, 2019 Snapchat's freaky face filters doubled app downloads Read More All the cool kids are doing it... Last month, Snap whipped out two new filters — One transformed your face into a baby's, the other switched your gender. The result for society: Good material to share/scare your friends, big conversations on "gender," and it was used to catch a pedophile.
But we just got the results for Snapchat... and they were big:
600K: The number of Snapchat downloads/day worldwide before the baby/gender switcheroo filters.
1.5M+: Daily downloads of the app after the filters hit, according to a report.The Takeaway:But will it be copied?... Back in 2016, Snapchat was the fastest-growing social network in the US. Then "inspired" Facebook "replicated" its features (first Stories, now Bitmoji). When Snapchat debuted its Lens filters in 2015, Facebook even acquired facial-recognition startup Msqrd to build its own filters. Snapchat's #GenderSwitch needs IP protection from the 'Book so it can get loyalty from you.