On July 19, 2017, NBC News rolled the dice on Snapchat.
Just a few months earlier, parent company NBCUniversal had invested $500 million in the tech company with its IPO, and in turn their various divisions were figuring out how they could build a present on the Gen Z-oblique platform.
NBC News president, Noah Oppenheim, recalled in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “We at NBC News recognized that Snap was a platform that reached millions of young people, and we were thinking, how can we take our trusted news brand and show it to the public? emerging audience?”
The end result of those conversations was Keep stablea daily news show that will appear on Snapchat’s Discover page and act as a kind of Nightly news for Gen Z. NBC invited Savannah Sellers and Gadi Schwartz to host the show.
“I worked on digital projects [for NBC News]but my job was on paper as an executive assistant,” recalls Sellers.
However, she is a native of the platform and is comfortable with its quirks and formatting. But that comes with its own set of challenges: Can Snapchat’s user base support a video news program?
“Working for a TV news organization, your brain is tied to your competition being another network, not your competition being whatever else happens on the Discover page. of Snapchat,” Sellers added that the challenge for Keep stable The startup team “figured out how we do news and had NBC News reporting and fact-finding at its core, but also laid out a place to compete.”
And it seems to have worked. Keep stable now averages one million views per episode on Snapchat and has surpassed one million followers on TikTok (it had over 7.5 million views on TikTok in June and is on track to surpass that number in October). 7).
“It has evolved into something much bigger, it has become the main brand of Generation Z facing us,” Oppenheim said.
But it was also a learning experience for NBC, for taking only one segment from Today display or Dateline and posting it on Snapchat or TikTok won’t cut it.
“A lot of social videos are often more casual, informal, sometimes in the case of TikTok, raw,” said NBC News Senior Vice President of Digital Catherine Kim. “We want to respect and observe those kinds of styles and formats, and tell and share news with Generation Z audiences in a way they are willing to listen.”
That is a significant challenge, especially considering the news consumption habits of young consumers. According to Pew Research, 90% of news consumers under the age of 30 get their news from digital devices, but only 45% get their news from TV.
“We are aware of the fact that for these consumers, many of them have never seen the news before, and for many of them, this is the only news they receive. okay,” said the seller. “So we keep that in mind and take it as a serious responsibility for you to get what you need to know to become the young, informed person you are today.”
But young news consumers aren’t just using TikTok and Snapchat. So NBC News is plotting a Keep stable expansion.
Later this year, Keep stable will relaunch its presence on arguably the biggest online video platform: YouTube. And in September, the company will release its first feature-length documentary under the name Keep stable brand. And, if all goes well, NBC is plotting Keep stable podcasts for 2023.
“We ultimately want to be a Gen Z news brand,” said Kim. “We know they’re using Snapchat news content on TikTok and on YouTube, and we want to be there, too.”
Kim said that Keep stable previously toyed with YouTube, but eventually allowed the channel to shut down. It will be revived in the fall with a focus on videos that are 5-10 minutes long, significantly longer than 3 minutes and in the format it uses on Snapchat and TikTok.
In September, Keep stable will debut its documentary (it’s about the influencer economy and aesthetic process) on the NBC News Now streaming service, on Peacock, and on NBCNews.com.
And Kim said the company is in beta on podcasts, trying to find the right audio format for the news brand.
“We think a lot about being the source of this platform, caring about how young consumers perceive their news, how they like their news shared with them,” said Kim.
“Wherever audiences are looking for news and information, we want them to find NBC News,” adds Oppenheim.
While social platforms may not be as lucrative as traditional linear TV (at least not yet), it is growing rapidly. Peacock and NBC News Now are NBC’s priorities, while YouTube has built a credible economic model for creators on its platform. Meanwhile, IAB and PwC predict that podcast ad revenue will hit $2 billion by 2022. In other words, what was once an experiment has the potential to become a real business.
Chris Berend, NBCU News Group’s vice president of digital operations, said CHEAP that Keep stable profitable.
But for NBC, the ultimate goal is not just to build a profitable Gen Z news brand, but to build credibility with an audience that may not have been exposed to their reporting.
“As long as you’re pursuing getting news to the people who need it, wherever they are, it can’t be a bad job,” Sellers said.