Snapchat Discover

While it’s hard to see Snapchat becoming as important to media companies as Facebook or Twitter are, the way in which publishers like CNN, Vice and Comedy Central have taken to the direct messaging service’s new ‘Discover’ feature is curious.

It may seem an odd platform to be sharing video content, but if one thinks a little deeper into the concept, the reasons behind why big named publishers have been happy to embrace the new platform become a little clearer.

Compared to Facebook, the biggest social network with over 1 billion users, Snapchat’s audience is distinctively youthful, with its main users being females between the ages of 13 and 25 according to the Guardian, an audience Facebook is beginning to have a  problem with.

The strategy for news and media companies on Facebook is sharing big at peak times, driving the most traffic to their sites and getting the most engagement on their content. Whereas in order for users to see the content on Snapchat’s Discover service, they have to move to a different section of the app, pick a publisher, and view the content then and there as in 24 hours, it disappears.

Sound familiar?

That’s because it’s a similar experience to watching broadcast television.

The ephemeral nature of Snapchat harks back to the days before we were able to record TV. Where you could only watch things as they were broadcast. And while the content being released via Snapchat Discover is always going to be available on the provider’s website after, publishers like Vice are experimenting with premiering certain pieces on Snapchat then making users wait to consume it any other way -as they recently did with their report from a Bitcoin mine-.

If Discover gets enough user interaction, and Snapchat’s user numbers rise to something at least comparable to Twitter -let alone Facebook- then this little experimental video service may turn into the preferred place to premiere their videos.

Just imagine if episodes of the latest season of “House of Cards” were broadcast first through Snapchat, only available for 24 hours, and not available anywhere else until a week later, and you had to pay for them.

It would be the good old days for studios again. The days of VHS and DVD. The days of money.

It’s wishful thinking at best. But, it will be interesting to see if changes the way users looking for video “Discover”.