ANGELES ó Snapchat isnít a resource many turn to for
weather and sports scores, but itís spending
increasing amounts of money on licensing deals to give
users such information.
Snapchat, the intention isnít so much about helping
people figure out how to dress that day or how their
favorite team is doing. Rather, Snapchatís aim is more
interpersonal: Itís loading up on real-time data from
third parties so people can provide more context about
their lives to friends.
selfie of you sweating means more when people can see
the temperature is a verifiable 103 degrees. That video
of a home run carries more weight when an animated
scoreboard shows it put the team ahead.
unclear how much Snapchat maker Snap Inc. pays for data
about forecasts and sports, from high school to
professional leagues, because it doesnít break down
content-creation costs, the likely spending category in
the companyís financial statement. But conversations
with data providers suggest that the deals are in line
with industry norms and that they are getting more
pricey as theyíre expanded.
Pachter, managing director of stock research at Wedbush
Securities, estimated that the weather data cost Snap at
most about $48 million a year based on assumptions of a
25-cent-per-user monthly fee and usage by 10 percent of
people on Snapchat. Another analyst put the cost closer
to $10 million.
most pressing question for Snap is whether it can
continue to grow the information repertoire quickly and
affordably as competitors such as Instagram race to
catch up. Snap has marketed itself to investors by
saying its assortment of new features will be unmatched
and that a low expense base puts it on a path toward
providers view their relationship with Snap as just the
start ó both in terms of whatís possible for
integration with Snapchat and with regards to the
potential for similar deals on other social media
of the influence a Snapchat has, you can think through
the whoís who of tech, and they are all paying
attention," said Greg Kirkorsky, executive vice
president of global sales and marketing at Chicago firm
four years ago, Snap became the first social media app
to offer digital filters that stamped a photo or video
on its service with the time, temperature or speed of
travel. Since then, the Los Angeles company has added
data options from providers including Weather Co.,
Factual, Stats, ScoreStream and Uber.
Venuto, who oversees Weather Channel apps and Weather
Co.ís consumer partnerships, said he couldnít resist
the opportunity to connect with Snapchatís young
audience when Snap reached out.
is great," said Venuto, who also has done deals
with Google and Facebook.
on factors such as location and time, Snapchat users can
decorate their images with multi-day forecasts, expected
arrival times during Uber trips and the score of a
sports event theyíre attending.
and altitude geofilters are based on analysis of data
from smartphone sensors as opposed to third-party
last yearís presidential election, Snap pulled
Associated Press data to show information about polling
and other campaign-related information.
says the deals make sense because such dynamic
geofilters, as the company calls them, are more heavily
used when they are available than more basic geofilters
that change the background color or add a cutesy
company contends that by providing timely geofilters, it
creates a more personalized experience for users. Those
custom offerings get people more excited about
expressing themselves through Snapchat, the thinking
geofilters are still overshadowed by basic geofilters,
which often identify landmarks, towns and events. About
95 percent of geofilters available were created by
users, as opposed to the auto-generated dynamic filters.
More recently, Snapchat introduced bitmoji-based filters
that change by the time of day and day of week.
altogether, about 1.5 million geofilters are seen every
minute on Snapchat, which represents double the
viewership from the beginning of the year.
2-year-old deal with Stats took Snapchat filters to a
new level, giving fans the ability to adorn photos with
an up-to-the-minute virtual scoreboard. Once shared with
friends, the score on the photo remains static. First
launched for NBA and Major League Baseball, scores were
seen almost 400,000 times a game in the first week.
Kirkorsky said Snapchat does have room to be an
informational resource for sports, and he expects Snap
to license scores for international sports such as
cricket while getting more detailed statistics for NFL,
MLB and other U.S. sports.
described such licensing deals as a "sizable
part" of Statsí sales.
like Snap would not continue to invest if they were not
meeting objectives," Kirkorsky said.
bets that Snap will open up access so that fans watching
a game at the stadium arenít the only ones who can add
a virtual scoreboard.
cool they are putting publishing tools in the hands of
consumers," Kirkorsky said.
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finding success at the professional and college level,
Snap reached out to ScoreStream, which leans on about
50,000 volunteers to input real-time score data for high
school sports. Snapchat featured scores from 5,000 high
school football games each week last year, with Gatorade
branding on the scoreboard. This school year, Snapchat
brought high school basketball to the deal.
information "allows you to create a narrative
around the imagery and media you share," said
Derrick Oien, chief executive of San Diego startup
ScoreStream. "Nobody is doing this like Snap yet.
So far, Snap is an absolute leader."
hopes next year Snapchat expands to include diverse
sports such as lacrosse in Australia or rugby in South
Africa. Getting more high school sports on board is
taking time because Snap wants ScoreStream to make sure
filters are available only within 500 feet of a match
venue, a task that requires stitching databases
has been able to turn some data into advertising tools.
For instance, the movie "Everything,
Everything" advertised at high schools with a
geofilter that automatically inserted the name of the
high school into the image. Location data from outside
providers facilitated the feature.
partners are eager to do more. Stats pointed to a
partnership with Budweiser that offers consumers a
battery-powered hockey light for their home that flashes
when a team scores a goal.
Co. offered as an example the dynamic alarm on Samsung
smartphones that automatically moves up a userís
wake-up time when the morning forecast shows rain (and
thus possibly a slower commute). More analytical data
that would be valuable to advertisers is possible too:
Weather Co. found how fast the temperature changes can
be a predictor of demand for ice cream.
some ideas weíve pitched that havenít been yet
implemented," Venuto said of work with Snap.
"It takes weather data from being commodity or pure
utility to helping make decisions."
financial analysts have expressed skepticism about how
many advertisers will flock to Snapchatís ad
offerings, given that they are more nuanced and come
with a smaller audience than Facebook and its Instagram
Facebook can introduce Snapchat look-alike products that
donít require the user to learn a new interface or
transfer a group of friends, it could hamper Snapchatís
user growth," Pachter recently told clients.
"The largest and most important advertisers are
likely to attribute greater value to Facebookís reach,
scale and measurability in the long run."
data licensers donít get information back beyond how
many people interacted with filters and some information
about user location. But they expressed a desire to draw
from the ephemeral public posts on Snapchat someday.
Snap declined to comment on the prospect.
software to scrutinize consumer photos and videos could
help Weather Co. make more accurate predictions about
air quality and storm paths, Venuto said, whether theyíre
from satellites, webcams or Snapchat.