Snapchat looking to monetize, reportedly in talks with advertisers and news sites

Snapchat is looking at how it might monetize its ephemeral messaging app, with a report Tuesday suggesting the California-based company is holding meetings with advertisers and media firms with a view to introducing ads, videos and news.

The service under discussion is called Snapchat Discovery, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people with knowledge of the talks as its source.

Around 12 firms – gossip-focused Mail Online among them – are said to be involved in the talks, with Snapchat aiming to roll out the service in November.

According to the Journal’s report, Snapchat Discovery would offer news snippets to users, as well as video clips of TV shows or movies. Delivered content would be accessed Snapchat-style, by pressing and holding to view.

Related: Snapchat improves security after user account leak

Snapchat, which launched in 2011, will have little trouble attracting advertisers. It’s currently thought to have around 30 million users, having added some 16 million in the last year alone. Company data claims users, half of whom are aged between 13 and 17, send a colossal 500 million photo and video messages a day. Engagement with the app is high, too, with the average user checking in 14 times a day.

While some firms already use the service to promote their products, a paid-ads service that delivers content directly to users could prove lucrative for the startup.

The popularity of the service, which lets users send messages that only show for a few seconds before disappearing, has inspired a slew of copycat apps, including ones from established players such as Facebook (Slingshot) and Instagram (Bolt).

Speaking of Facebook, Snapchat last year turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from the social networking company, while more recently the messaging app has been attracting interest from the likes of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba.

With so much buzz around the startup, it’s little surprise Snapchat is looking at ways to generate revenue, with a possible IPO coming somewhere down the line. However, it’s going to be interesting to see how users take to having vanishing ads pushed their way, as well as disappearing news.

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