NBCUniversal is now the only U.S. media company that has an official stake in Snap. Today, NBC Universal (which is a unit of Comcast) revealed that it invested $500 million in Snap as a strategic investment partnership during yesterday’s IPO.
Snap shares popped 44 percent in the first day of trading.
NBCUniversal has been pursuing digital media aggressively in the past year, including investments in Buzzfeed, Vox, and acquisitions of SportsEngine and Awesomeness TV. According to CNBC, NBC has spent approximately $1.5 billion on digital media assets in the last 18 months.
While Snapchat has continued to grow in popularity among teens and young adults — partially through funny photo filters and stylish recording sunglasses called Spectacles — the company’s content push hasn’t been quite as well-received.
Discover, Snapchat’s ‘news’ platform, requires publishers to write and format content specifically for Snapchat, and all of these stories have only 24 hours to live on the platform before disappearing.
The investment from NBC Universal may signal changes to Snap’s media strategy.
Given the current climate around the media — cough Fake News! cough — it would be interesting to see Snapchat position itself against Facebook as the place for ‘verified’ news information. Imagine if Discover focused on giving you direct access to journalists and broadcasters for their professional take on today’s breaking news.
Of course, NBCUniversal could have invested in Snap as a way to move forward its entertainment businesses, such as NBC programming and Universal Studios films.
That seems far more likely than the news play, considering that NBC has already worked with Snap for projects like the Rio Olympics, with other series (such as SNL, The Voice, and more), which are in the works to air on Snapchat.
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