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May 4, 2018, 1:09 p.m.
LINK: www.axios.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Christine Schmidt   |   May 4, 2018

It’s redesign time: After redesigning its app (and now announcing plans to tweak the redesign), Snap has been redesigning its news offerings and publisher deals.

NowThis will start a breaking news channel on Snapchat Discover in June, updated in realtime, Axios reported earlier this week. The social video brand’s existing channel will continue showcasing general news and features (highlights of its channel this week include a man living in a sandcastle, immigrants smuggling a “LIVE TIGER” in a duffel bag, and those jeans that only have seams and no fabric between them).

“The way we’re thinking about it now is we will publish as news as it breaks. We’ll go up with breaking news stories five, 10, 15 minutes from the when the story breaks. We will add to those stories as they develop throughout the day. It could be updated five times per day, or it could be updated zero times per day. It all depends on the news cycle,” said Tina Exarhos, NowThis’s chief content officer.

NowThis has experimented with Snapchat before, like the group’s collaboration with Jim VandeHei in the final stretch of the 2016 presidential election on a Discover channel called “We the People.” Snapchat has already featured hard news from NBC News (NBCUniversal is an investor in Snap) through a twice-daily show and CNN’s daily show, though the latter folded after four months when the “issue at hand was the show’s potential path to profitability — or rather, the lack thereof.”

But the redesign shook up the Discover platform on Snapchat, switching from a magazine-rack vision of selected publisher partners to an algorithm-based portal that includes celebrity and influencer stories, in addition to Snapchat shows and stories and publisher channels. It also moved users’ Stories out of Discover, lowering the incentive for people who primarily use the messaging app to communicate with their friends to visit the Discover side of the app. And recently Snap started telling publishers it would end its licensing deals, moving from paying publishers upfront for producing their daily and weekly content to focusing solely on splitting advertising revenue from their content. That was a leading cause for CNN’s exit.

The numbers since the redesign haven’t been bright: Snap’s first quarter reports show users and advertisers losing confidence and Snap shares falling. This week the company announced they’ll be tweaking the redesign, with CEO Evan Spiegel pointing to “headwinds from the redesign” as “a change this big to existing behavior comes with some disruption.” Snapchat averaged 191 million daily active users worldwide in 2018’s first quarter, compared to an expected 194.15 million. Those users, though, spend an average of 30 minutes on the app each day, and for Star Wars Day (May the Fourth!) users can use a Snapchat filter to take a Chewbacca selfie.

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