The future of media on Snapchat: A design concept

When Evan Spiegel gave a talk at Yale last month, he told a room full of students that “the next year is going to be a lot about media on Snapchat. Broadcast media."

One week later, Snapchat launched Snapcash—a feature that allows users to easily send money to their friends. Many in the press characterized it as a Venmo competitor. But Snapcash isn’t just about P2P payments. Now that users can spend money via Snapchat, the company has created a whole new set of opportunities for itself. I mocked up a concept for how big media companies could use Snapcash to create pay-per-view live streams on Snapchat. 

Follow brand accounts that you’re interested in, like ESPN. When ESPN live streams a game they’ll send a push notification to your phone.

Swipe left on the notification to go directly to the stories screen.

Live streams from media accounts appear with a lock icon and a price. Thanks to Snapcash, you can pay and unlock the content with just two taps.

After paying, the live stream is unlocked. Press and hold to view it.

Or tap on the stream to see which of your friends are currently watching.

Press and hold on a friend’s name to watch the stream with them live. Just like in Snapchat video chat, you can drag your finger to the lock icon (on the left) to watch without having to keep your finger on the screen.

Snapchat could even supplement this coverage by inserting user-generated Our Story content into the official media stream. They could also include behind the scenes snaps from players’ and coaches’ Snapchat accounts.

Sponsored Snapchat Stories: The first ever user-generated ads?

Snapchat has accomplished what no other ad agency has been able to do before: authentic user interviews. For years, we’ve been exposed to advertisements that contain videos of “actual customers” professing their love for whatever product is being sold. But these customers (read: actors) almost never appear genuine. Viewers have learned to tune them out.

With Our Story, Snapchat has, in some ways, solved this problem. Imagine, for example, that a new movie like The Hunger Games is being released. Snapchat could simply drop an Our Story geofence on theaters across the country. Without even being prompted, users would post videos and photos of themselves dressed up in costume, buying popcorn, getting excited for the movie. Then, Lionsgate could place an ad for The Hunger Games at the end of the Our Story. The entire thing would come off as completely genuine because it, in fact, was.

Why hire actors when you can get real people to essentially create ads on your behalf? Snapchat has created a novel form of advertising in which the ads are made by the users. Companies who want to advertise on the app only have to wrap their branding around user-generated content. They become more like curators than producers on Snapchat.

Looking forward

Journalists who still make jokes in their headlines about Snapchat nudes are entirely missing the promise of the platform. The company has the potential to offer a truly fresh take on mobile media consumption for the 21st century. Now, all Snapchat has to do is enable people to easily discover content that matters to them.