It’s not just for sexting anymore. By now, Snapchat’s reputation as a vessel for scandalous, disappearing selfies has given way to something of far grander ambition: It wants to become a full-blown media outlet, complete with its own web TV series.
Now Snapchat wants to get into live sports broadcasting. The company behind the social messaging app is reportedly in talks to acquire the rights necessary to feature live NCAA basketball games during the Final Four next month.
If all goes according to plan, the move could help turn the app into a profitable business.
The partnership will begin with the Final Four, but there are plans to expand it to other NCAA sporting events in the future.
Snapchat is looking to sell brand sponsorships for these stories and plans to split ad revenue among the sports leagues, the broadcasters, and itself, according to one executive involved in negotiations. Turner is said to be close to finalizing sponsorship deals for the Final Four Stories, according to the executives.
In the past, such in-app sponsorships have gone for as much as $750,000, as Digiday points out.
This is Snapchat’s latest attempt to capture more eyeballs–and revenue–by pushing more premium video content from well-known brands through its app. In late January, the company launched Literally Can’t Even, the first episodic video series to debut exclusively within the Snapchat app.
Its original content initiative is an extension of the “discover” media tab, a new area within the app that departs from the ephemeral photo- and video-sharing that the service is known for and instead focuses on delivering content to users in a more broadcast-esque fashion. But unlike the goofy homemade vids you send to your friends, this stuff is legit: Content from the likes of MTV, National Geographic, and Vice streams from this section of the app, and is turning into an important new part of Snapchat’s business model.
But if the NCAA game rights are secured, it likely won’t be for the discover tab. According to the Digiday report, the rights would be used to legitimize any curated, basketball-focused stories published in the “our story” portion of the app, which allows users in a specific event location to share messages related to the event. These typically multimedia “stories” are already produced on Snapchat, with or without the blessing of the content owners. As Snapchat is increasingly used around major sporting events, it behooves the company to lawyer up–or to start negotiating similar deals with other brands and content owners.