As vice president of content at Snapchat, Nick Bell oversees Live Stories, a curated stream of snaps from users that are shared with the entire community. He's also been the driving force behind Discover, in which Snapchat partners with publishers such as CNN, National Geographic, and People to create content. He’s been careful to bring on Discover partners that understand Snapchat’s storytelling aesthetic. Publishers are happy to comply, competing aggressively to be seen by Snapchat’s young audience.
In 2015, Bell’s team curated a live stream of snaps from the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca during Ramadan, with users sharing what they were seeing. It was a brand-new take on a rite that is closely watched from around the world. More than a million people also tuned in to a five-minute-long Live Story that Snapchat created about the prayers in the sacred city.
Bell is also working on a breaking-news strategy for Snapchat, inspired by its impromptu coverage of the San Bernardino, California, shooting in December 2015. In Live Stories, Snapchat curators selected photos and videos from users who were near the shooting, overlaying the images with text to explain what was happening. This instantly transformed the platform into a source of developing national news.
Born in the U.K., Bell launched several startups there at a young age. At 16, he sold his first company, Teenfront, to a teen-focused payment service provider called Rools.