You probably thought platform-specific publishing was so 2017, but maybe not! NowThis announced today a breaking news channel to be consumed on Snapchat Discover. It will be called NowBreaking, and will launch in June.
This isn’t the most surprising move on NowThis’s part. The news organization, which is owned by Group Nine Media, made a name for itself over the last few years by building a news platform for social platforms. As Facebook took over digital media consumption, NowThis published more content meant to spread like wildfire over the social network. NowThis says its content currently gets more than 2.6 billion monthly views.
Of course, Facebook has begun de-emphasizing news content on its newsfeed, which has caused panic among media companies that once relied on it for consistent traffic. NowThis, for instance, brought back its homepage in an attempt to reduce its reliance on other platforms. And other media companies have seen huge declines. At Mic, Facebook views were down to 11 million in March of this year, compared to 192 million in April 2017, according to a recent report in Digiday.
NowThis’s rationale for looking toward Snapchat as a breaking news engine makes some sense. The social app isn’t a new foray for the media company–it’s had a Publisher Story on Snap since 2016. Still, a completely new channel could backfire, as such channels have for other media brands. CNN, for instance, dabbled with a daily news Snapchat show for a few months, but ultimately axed it after realizing that there was no clear path to monetization.
NowThis could face a similar reality, although there are obvious differences between it and CNN. The more millennial-focused NowThis might prove to have more caché with Snapchat’s young user base. For now, we’ll have to see if Snap can actually help publishers get their platform mojo back.