On the 2 March, I took a quarter of my savings and dumped it into buying as many shares of Snap as possible. To some, this might seem like an audacious almost foolish move for a 22-year-old but to me it was, and still is a non-issue.
I bought stock not only because I head up a company founded on Snapchat but more importantly because I have one simple belief – that Snap is the new TV for the younger generation.
Snap right now call themselves a camera company, I understand their angle here alluding to the fact that the camera is going to be the gateway for all Snap experiences.
However I have a fundamentally, different view – from their stories function enabling anyone to be a broadcaster, to their Discover channels enabling old media companies to repackage their content to a younger audience, to their original mini-documentaries with BBC and NBC it’s glaringly obvious that Snap are the new TV.
And if Snap want be a successful public company, they have to go all in on this. They are poised to steal TV’s audiences and whether you’re a brand or an agency, it's vital you understand this fundamental shift and the emergence of a new media channel which is going to change how you engage with younger audiences.
Here are three reasons why:
1.The content you want from traditional TV is already on Snapchat and in a better format
The annual MTV VMAs (the MTV Video Music Awards Show), broadcasts primarily through TV. Last year, Snapchat partnered up with MTV and showcased behind-the-scenes footage, as well as clips of artist performances on the night, which were updated frequently throughout the night.
The TV audience for the 2016 VMAs only reached 6.5 million viewers across 11 networks collectively. Furthermore, this figure was down 33% from the previous year, exhibiting the stark decrease in dependency for TV to get your fix for news.
Meanwhile, the Snapchat Live Story feed's style of coverage racked up an impressive Snapchat audience of almost 4x the TV audience, with nearly 21 million Unique viewers
Snapchat already has the content on TV and given that the millennial generation was born using their phones as their mode of access to the wider world, it’s of little surprise that we see this happening
2. The millennial generation want on your terms TV and Snapchat provides that
For the younger generation, the meaning of TV has undergone a shift.
Websites like YouTube and Netflix that allow for streaming TV episodes, documentaries and movies have changed TV to be something that is at your disposal and convenience.
In a world where we have increasingly shorter attention spans, Snapchat caters to TV that suits our style by showing where you can easily skip what you are not interested in and replay moments you want to see again, in 10-second instalments.
When you add that to the increasing numbers of people watching video on their phone, it’s evident that Snapchat is in a prime position to take over as the TV format for the younger generation. Couple that with the stats from the previous point and you can see they are winning.
3. Millennials want a two-way dialogue, Snapchat provides that
One of the core characteristics of the younger generation is their need for interaction. Rather than being a passive audience and just taking in content and information there is a need for a two-way dialogue and engaging with brands.
TV however has always been a one-sided conversation with TV stations just shooting towards you without providing an avenue for you to interact and respond back.
However, Snapchat has a unique strength in that it allows users to contribute to an event as it is occurring. When Hurricane Matthew hit the US east coast, Snapchat's showcased regular updates from different user camera perspectives, which 10 million people viewed.
This idea of having the news be from a first-person perspective breaks down more barriers between the user and the event happening, ultimately strengthening this sense of community and interactivity, something that TV cannot emulate.
Snapchat is often compared to other social networks such as Facebook and Instagram but that’s a wrong comparison. The fact that the TV content is already on Snapchat, the on your terms nature of the content and the two-sided nature of it makes it a prime alternative for TV for the younger generation.
Right now the US are leading the way in making the strides towards accepting Snapchat in their new ad format. With the BBC creating mini Planet Earth documentaries with Snapchat, I believe we’re going to see more of this in the UK.
Be prepared. Snapchat is the young person’s TV and brands and agencies will do themselves well to start thinking quickly about how to engage with that format.
Timothy Armoo is the chief executive and founder of Fanbytes.