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Snapchat narrows streaming gap with Facebook

With a reported six billion video views every day, the upstart social sharing platform is tightening its grip on Gen Z and millennial users.
November 11, 2015

With a reported six billion video views every day on Snapchat, the social sharing and streaming platform with a firm grip on Gen Z and young millennials appears suddenly to be all grown up.

The total daily streams, initially reported by the Financial Times, put the platform in reach of Facebook, which earlier this month reported (via founder Mark Zuckerberg’s homepage) a daily tally of eight billion video views.

FacebookThe rise of Snapchat into the streaming world has been like the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water — that is, the change has been coming on so gradually, we haven’t realized just how red-hot the platform has become, particularly among teens and 20-somethings.

Kaan Yigit, a digital media analyst and president of Solutions Research Group, said Snapchat’s appeal largely comes down to the removal of content after 24 hours.

“It has a very high silly quotient because it disappears quickly which makes it irresistible for anyone under 25 years,” said Yigit in an email to StreamDaily.

Facebook, by contrast, is massive in its overall reach, with a global army of 1.55 billion monthly users and one billion on the site every day. Instagram, meanwhile, draws another 400 million monthly users (see box right).

But, said Yigit, Facebook remains “relatively shallow” from an engagement standpoint among younger demos. (A recent Pew Research study found Facebook’s average user is closer to 40, with a growing reach among users 65 years and older).

Snapchat’s reach across about 100 million monthly users is comparatively narrow, but deep among users 18 years and younger, pushing its per-user daily video consumption off the charts compared to Facebook.

“The vast majority of personal and social videos and (photos) in youth social settings have migrated from Facebook, and even Instagram, to Snapchat among millennials. It’s a freer environment when it disappears (almost) as quickly as it appears,” said Yigit.

It’s worth noting that, in 2013, Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel (Snapchat CEO) and Bobby Murphy turned down a $3 billion cash offer from Zuckerberg to buy the company.

This year, Snapchat has signaled its intent to build a reputation as a full-fledged media company. Among the key changes, the company eliminated the need for users to press and hold the screen to view content, making way for longer-form content to be added to the platform’s content offerings.

In January, the company introduced Snapchat Discover, a streaming service that is exclusive to media brands and appears on all user’s home feeds.  The lifestyle and beauty MCN Refinery29 launched its Discover channel in October, promising 14 pieces of original content daily, while Viacom-owned Comedy Central launched five new original series on the platform in September. Discover also hosts Fusion’s slate of original programming, and content from Major League Baseball.

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