“Although Some Industry Reports Describe A Decline Of Interest In Sport Amongst Gen-Z, We’ve Been Seeing The Opposite”
By Taruka Srivastav | March 31, 2021
Recently, Discovery and Snap Inc. announced a new content and advertising partnership to bring the Olympic Games to a new generation of fans. We spoke with Kahlen Macaulay, International Sports Partnerships Manager at Snap Inc. to explore what they want to achieve through the deal.
So tell us about your recent partnership with Discovery surrounding the upcoming summer and winter Olympics games, how do you aim to bring the younger generation to the Olympic games?
We’ve announced this new content partnership with Discovery to bring the best of both the Tokyo Olympic Games and Beijing Winter Olympic Games to our community. We know how much Snapchatters love sports and we’re very excited to bring the Games to a new generation of fans.
There will be a daily Eurosport Olympics Show on Snapchat Discover, showcasing the must-see Olympic moments from Discovery+ and Eurosport. The episode will be updated twice a day during the Games and will be available to watch by Snapchatters across Europe, with local language and Olympic team content in select markets. To get Snapchatters hyped for the Games, Discovery are also going to be launching content leading up to the opening ceremony, focussing on the best stories to look out for during the Olympics.
What are the goals that the company is looking to achieve from this partnership and why is sport an important tool for the organisation to be able to utilise?
Every day, 265 million people use Snapchat to stay connected with their loved ones, be entertained, stay informed, and learn about the world. Our Discover platform features content from the world’s best storytellers and creators – everything from news and entertainment to sports, beauty and lifestyle.
“With many sporting events looking different this year, we’ve been really thinking about how we can forge great partnerships that bring unique and meaningful experiences to our community.”
Sport in particular has an amazing way of bringing people together. Whether you’re a football enthusiast, a fan of figure skating, or simply love how your country rallies together to support your national team – there’s something for everyone.
The wider the range and variety of sports content we have on our platform, the more relevant the experience we are able to create for Snapchatters. With many sporting events looking different this year, we’ve been really thinking about how we can forge great partnerships that bring unique and meaningful experiences to our community. We’re grateful to be able to showcase such inspiring content on Snapchat, bringing them to the heart of the Games and other sporting events from the comfort of their phone.
How do you work with your official publishers to get the best content?
Very closely! We deeply value our partners and collaborate with them to tell great stories in creative and innovative ways. We built Discover with clear values: we value content that is authoritative and credible, we value diverse perspectives and we believe that content made for mobile is fundamentally different to other mediums.
We work with media and sports organisations who believe this too, from Sky Sports in the UK and beIN Sports in France, to the International Olympic Committee and Formula 1. Shows have become a popular format on Snapchat – the time spent watching Shows increased by over 70% over the past year – and it’s been amazing to see our partners reimagine how a mobile-first generation consumes sports highlights on Snapchat. We’ve introduced Highlights Shows, which update in near real-time so Snapchatters won’t miss a moment.
“In September 2020, more than 40% of the U.S. Gen-Z population watched sports Discover content.”
These Highlight Shows are to mobile what live sports programming is to television, and it’s been fundamental for us to be an extension of our partners’ reach. We also work with our partners to create experiences on different parts of Snapchat including Augmented Reality, Spotlight, Bitmoji, Maps, SnapKit and more. There are so many ways to experience sports on Snapchat and for teams, athletes, organisations and brands alike to share their fandom in a visual and immersive way.
How did Covid-19 impact the traction of users on Snapchat and what has been the subsequent behaviour of them in more recent months?
Whilst the pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time for people all around the world, it’s safe to say one experience that has been universal is a renewed understanding of the value and importance of friendship. Snapchat has always been a platform for close friends and family to communicate and it’s been amazing to be able to serve our community in this time – keeping them connected whilst many of them are apart.
When it comes to content behaviour more specifically, we’ve seen consistent growth and strong engagement. 90% of the U.S. Gen-Z population were watching Shows and publisher content in Q4 2020 and in September 2020, more than 40% of the U.S. Gen-Z population watched sports Discover content.
We see similar engagement in other markets such as in the UK and Norway, where nearly 60% and over 75% of the Gen Z population respectively watched premium sports content on Snapchat in Q3 2020. Global sports partners such as Wave.tv reach an average monthly audience of 64 million Snapchatters and SportsCenter’s viewership on Snapchat increased by 80% from July 2020 to September 2020.
How are you looking to continue utilising sports content moving forward, what are the next focusses and are you looking to expand your portfolio further? May we see more partnerships with major events in the future?
Sports are one of the few things that can unite us regardless of age, location or language. With that in mind, sports content has been a key part of the Discover experience from the very beginning. Fans use Snapchat throughout sporting events to show their support, celebrate the wins (or commiserate the losses!) together with their friends.
Although some industry reports describe a decline of interest in sport amongst Gen-Z, we’ve been seeing the opposite. In fact, there is a growing appetite from our community to experience sports content in different ways – wherever they are, whenever they want, and in formats that fit into their lives. We reach 90% of the 13-24 population in the U.S., U.K, France, Canada and Australia, and so plan to continue being a place where Snapchatters can immerse themselves in the sports they love, and our sports partners, rights holders, owners, teams and athletes can connect with new audiences and create their fans of the future.
In the UK, we found that 68% of Snapchatters use the app while watching sports. That’s a huge opportunity for our partners to elevate the viewing experience, differentiate their sport and build lifelong fandom. Providing avenues for audiences to consume on their terms, and the opportunities for our partners to be the place for that consumption, is really what we’re trying to do.
“Augmented reality has been a real differentiator for us. Over 200 million Snapchatters engage with AR on Snapchat every single day.”
We’re constantly innovating and evolving our product so that our community has a range of unique and compelling experiences. Augmented reality has been a real differentiator for us. Over 200 million Snapchatters engage with AR on Snapchat every single day. By combining the power of our camera with great sports content, we can reimagine the fan experience with our partners.
Flagship partnerships with the NFL and NBA are really great examples of this, where content in the form of Highlights Show is one pillar of what they do, but this is complemented with AR Lenses that create another level of engagement around their sport, putting fans in the center of the action, no matter where they are, right from their phone. We hope to see more of these sorts of partnerships in the future and will continue to collaborate with organisations that want to innovate alongside us.