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SuiteWorld 2016: Media is moving from traditional to mobile, says Snapchat chief strategy officer

Snapchat’s model addresses the shift away from traditional media consumption, says Snapchat’s chief strategy officer

Television and media consumption is shifting from traditional to mobile, and Snapchat’s model is designed to cater for this, according to the firm’s chief strategy officer (CSO) Imran Khan.

Speaking at the global SuiteWorld 2016 conference in San Jose, the NetSuite customer claimed its platform of quickly expiring content and short form “stories” addresses millennial fast-paced content consumption.

“More than 100 million people on our platform are watching more than 10 billion videos every day,” said Khan.

“One of the biggest trends in media is that television viewership is moving away to mobile viewership. The younger demographic are watching less and less TV and spend their time on mobile platforms watching videos.”

Khan said video is an important format for them to support as their target audience consume a lot of it, and it gives the firm an opportunity to tie in advertisers.

Many existing content platforms, such as BBC Three, are moving away from a television-based service providing long-form content to online or mobile short-form content to cater to the behaviour of the millennial generation and compete with platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube.

Snapchat’s user uploaded content used to expire in one to 10 seconds, but now users have 24 hours to view and save content.

Khan explained the app does not keep content to give users more space to develop and grow in an age where the internet ensures everything is recorded and very public.

“Everything we do and everything we say gets recorded and gets saved,” he said.

“You are a collection of everything you have done in your life over the years, but in reality people change. Giving people the choice is what Snapchat is all about.”

Creative technology and business focus

There has been an emphasis on the creative side of technology over the past year, and many companies are looking for talented people who have tech savvy skills and a creative outlook.

Khan emphasised that Snapchat’s focus on user-generated content is a reflection on the importance of creativity.

“At Snapchat, everything starts with the camera. The reason it starts with the camera is because we think everybody is creative and they like to create content,” he said.

“By opening the app with the camera, we invite people to create content.”

As well as acting as a communication platform, Khan explained the application’s second business focus is on its “storytelling” platform, which allows users and partners to generate a news feed of events through sharing pictures and videos.

“You get to see what they experience through their camera,” he added.

This creates a merging of professional and user generated content, combining the firm’s two business focuses.

Scaling Snapchat

As Snapchat now has 100 million users, scaling has been on the forefront of the content platform’s mind. Its initial strategy for coping with user volume is to expand the number of employees.

The firm will looking into scaling in two ways. The first, Khan admitted, is to “hire a lot of great people”, but he added that “finding the right talent is also a great challenge for us”.

“We’re growing really fast. When you’re serving more than 100 million daily users and 10 billion files and videos, that’s an incredible infrastructure we’re talking about.”

The second way of scaling is to look at the firm’s infrastructure. Khan said the firm would have to ensure it maintains its internal infrastructure to ensure data collected is available to employees to quickly implement changes.

“Number two is information flow and the right infrastructure – that’s why we partnered with NetSuite, so we have transparency on a real time basis so we know what’s going on in our business,” he said.

“Things are changing quickly in technology, so if I find out something happened 72 hours after [it occurred], it’s too late.”

Read more about online media

  • Creative industries such as media, marketing, advertising and sales place more value on digital skills than IT and telecoms sector does.
  • Consumers aged 18 to 34 are more likely to buy items based on what they see on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Read more on Social media technology

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Quite true, we've found here. I just bid a fairly large media (film) project. While it seems we will do the job. all the specs were changed. Instead of facing racks of hard drives, we'll be working (almost) totally online. Tests have been good so far and we will save (a bit of) money and (a lot of) space. Everyone seems pleased with the transition; I lie awake worrying, but that's my job.
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