Snapchat strikes Olympic gold in race for viewers

App mounts challenge to frontrunners Facebook and Twitter

Almost 50 million people have watched the Olympic Games on Snapchat so far, as broadcasters including NBC and the BBC use the app to reach a millennial audience.

Nearly one in three daily Snapchat users has viewed the clips in Live Stories, showing that the app could challenge other social sites such as Facebook and Twitter for dominance in live events.

The LA-based start-up partnered with broadcasters in seven countries including the US, the UK and Brazil to show stories that include footage from the games and from the crowds in the last 24 hours.

In the first seven days to last Thursday, 49 million unique visitors viewed Olympics content on Snapchat, almost a third of the 150 million daily active users of the app.



Snapchat also signed a deal with NBC, the official US broadcaster of the Olympics, and news site BuzzFeed to create a channel on its Discover platform to produce daily snippets from the games. This includes behind-the-scenes footage shot especially for Snapchat.

NBC Olympics and Snapchat are sharing advertising revenue from the ads placed in the Discover page. Seven brand partners have signed up to advertise from Walmart, running ads to promote their commitment to selling more goods made in America, to Dick’s Sporting Goods, a US sports retailer that is featuring stories of Olympians and Paralympians going for gold.

Snapchat is trying to compete with larger rivals Twitter and Facebook to become the home for social interactions surrounding live events.

It is partnering with traditional media companies who have come to value the app for its younger and engaged audience, keen to watch video on mobile. Snapchat reaches 41 per cent of all 18 to 34 year olds in the US every day, according to a survey by research company Nielsen.


More than 10 billion videos are now watched on Snapchat every day, compared with 8 billion on Facebook, when the latter last disclosed the metric earlier this year.

Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram are also working with NBC Olympics, which is producing a two-minute daily round-up for Facebook's US users and a daily slow-motion video focusing on inspiration for Instagram.

Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 1.6 billion users, is focusing on encouraging the use of its newest format, Facebook Live, creating a landing page to help people find live videos from Olympians including Team Great Britain, Team Brazil and Team Japan.


The company has begun to pay some stars and media companies to shoot live streams for Facebook and is reported to have paid US swimmer Michael Phelps. A spokesperson confirmed it had paid a "relatively small" number of partners, but would not say if Mr Phelps was among them.

Twitter has long styled itself as the platform for news and following along on a “second screen” while you watch TV. It has created a “Twitter Moment” which allows people to follow the Olympics action with one click of a button for the duration of the games, as well as specific races such as Usain Bolt running for gold in the 100 million.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016