Complex Brings Its Youth Obsession to Snapchat Discover

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Complex, the youth-centric culture publication, is launching a Snapchat channel.

Complex, owned by Verizon and Hearst Corp., says it will bring an even younger sensibility to what's already a youth-focused app. Complex said in the announcement that it will "cover everything from Kanye to LeBron James," fashion, sneakers, music, movie and pop culture.

"We will break big digital stories," said Moksha Fitzgibbons, chief revenue officer at Complex. "Let's say we do a big feature with Kylie Jenner or something like that, we would break it on Snapchat."

When he realized that Ms. Jenner already gets covered massively on every Snapchat channel, Mr. Fitzgibbons offered Jay-Z, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, adding "If Complex says something is cool, say we say a new artist will be the next big thing, that kingmaker effect, that's what the audience looks for from us and we don't think that's currently there on Snapchat."

Complex also has a fresh design take, which it hopes will help it stand out with even more graphics, motion and media than other channels, Mr. Fitzgibbons said.

Discover is the name of the section within Snapchat that houses the channels from select media partners, who produce mostly original content for the app and its 150 million daily users.

Cosmopolitan, Vice, IGN, iHeartMedia, People, CNN, and other top publishers run their own Discover channels, too.

"Complex speaks to millenials and gen-zers obsessed with pop culture, music, and sneakers," said Nick Bell, Snapchat's VP of content, in the announcement on Thursday. "A highly respected brand, Complex has a foothold like no other in this space and we're excited to bring their unique voice and perspectives to old and new fans alike on Snapchat."

Complex had to build an 8-person team dedicated solely to producing for Snapchat, up to 14 stories a day, including videos and multimedia articles.

Snapchat holds the partners to strict production goals, Mr. Fitzgibbons said. The investment will be in the "seven figures" just to produce the channel, Mr. Fitzgibbons said.

"We've built the right financial modeling around it," Mr. Fitzgibbons said. "I think it can be a tremendous outlet for us, and we'll earn back that investment we're making into staffing and resources."

Complex would not say how much money the channel will make from advertising or how much traffic it hopes to generate. Mr. Fitzgibbons also declined to say if Complex had to commit to meeting ad revenue minimums, which have been included in other Snapchat partnerships.

"Snapchat just wants to ensure that publishers are putting the proper resources into it," Mr. Fitzgibbons said.

Complex sold its first sponsorship to New Amsterdam, the vodka and gin brand.

Baker Lambert, global director of data and technology at TBWA, said brands are starting to catch on to the size of Snapchat's offering. It's attractive because of its young audience, exactly who Complex is hoping to attract.

"Snapchat is starting to generate a lot of impressions, faster than some brands realize," Mr. Lambert said. "It takes them a couple of years, but the budgets will catch up with the eyeballs."

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Complex was owned by Verizon. Complex was acquired this year by Verizon and Hearst Corp., each with a 50% stake.

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