Snapchat is trying something new: It's giving publishers a way to create videos without too much heavy lifting.
On Thursday, Snapchat announced that its dozens of media partners, including Hearst, NBCUniversal, Refinery 29 and Daily Mail, will have the ability to build stories from the videos created by the app's 188 million daily users. Snapchat will split ad revenue with the media companies from commercials that run inside the videos.
CNN is among the media companies that will use the new feature. The network had pulled out of Snapchat's premium publisher programs last year, cancelling a show called the "Update," which had been on Snapchat just four months before being abandoned.
Snapchat has a whole section devoted to media partners called Discover, where publishers produce shows or daily channels with articles and videos. The shows and channels, however, require big investments from the media companies and dedicated staff.
The new video creation tool requires less of a lift. Here's how it works:
Publishers will now have access to Snapchat's content management system, which allows them to search through the public videos uploaded daily to the app by its users. The publishers can search for certain themes or locations to build a story using the footage. For instance, there could be stories about weddings, nightlife, restaurants, all drawing from the videos people post to Snapchat. News organizations could also develop stories around breaking events.
Snapchat calls these types of videos "Our Stories" (because, well, they're crowdsourced). Snapchat has been making "Our Stories" internally for years around special events and topics.
Snapchat wants to give more publishers and creators reasons to use the service, and a revenue-generating program always helps. Snapchat has signed up seven new media partners through "Our Stories"—Brut (France), The Infatuation, Jukin, Love Stories TV, The Tab, Wave.TV and Whalar. That's on top of CNN and dozens of other longtime partners from its Discover section.
Earlier this year, Snapchat built a feature for publishers called "Stories Everywhere," which opened the platform up. The media companies were able to share videos from their Snapchat accounts to their websites—a departure for the app, which didn't generally share well with the rest of the web. Publishers will also be able to post "Our Stories" to their websites.
Snapchat declined to comment on the new program beyond the announcement it issued on Thursday. Also, CNN did not return a request for comment on its return to Snapchat.
Snapchat has been faced with adversity for much of the year, which started on the wrong foot with a poorly received redesign. It even had to redesign the redesign after public criticism, including from famous users like Kylie Jenner.
At the same time, publishers found the redesign made it tougher to stand out. More media partners were competing for the same space in the revamped Discover section.
Snapchat also is undergoing leadership changes. This week, Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan resigned and, in May, it lost Chief Financial Officer Drew Vollero. The turmoil is part of the growing pains of the young company, which went public last year but has been pounded by rival Instagram, a larger platform backed by social media titan Facebook.
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Snapchat has 191 million daily users; the correct figure is 188 million daily users. It also said Kendall Jenner had criticized its redesign; that criticism came from Kylie Jenner. And it identified a former Snap chief financial officer as Drew Volley; his name is Drew Vollero.