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Snapchat Is Adding Three New Publishers -- But Won't Cut Old Ones

Mashable, IGN and Tastemade are all joining Discover this week.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

Snapchat is adding new publishing partners to its Discover section — you’ve already known that for a month — but there’s an interesting new twist: The company isn’t cutting any existing publishers to make room. The group is simply getting bigger.

Snapchat will add three publishers to the app on Thursday, including Mashable, gaming publication IGN and food and travel network Tastemade. The move will expand Snapchat’s Discover section to 15 channels, and there are even more publishers expected to join sometime in September, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans. As we reported last month, Vox.com is among those expected to join Discover later this fall. (Vox.com and Re/code are both owned by the same parent company, Vox Media.)

Expanding the Discover roster makes sense for Snapchat for one simple reason: Revenue. Snapchat and its publishing partners have been selling ad space alongside the Discover content since launching in January. Simply put, the more channels Snapchat has available, the more content it has to monetize.

Snapchat

All of Snapchat’s new partners have been actively seeking advertising ahead of Thursday’s launch. Snapchat’s ad rates have declined since Discover debuted, but its new partners claim there’s still a lot of demand. All of the channels have already found advertisers for their debut on the platform. Tastemade co-founder Steven Kydd described conversations with advertisers as “very, very positive,” and says Coca-Cola is sponsoring the Tastemade channel at launch. Universal Pictures is set to advertise alongside IGN’s channel to promote its upcoming movie “The Visit,” said Vivek Shah, CEO of IGN’s parent company, Ziff Davis. Mashable partnered with Qualcomm.

“The advertiser response has been incredible,” Shah said. “I think that’s as much a credit to advertiser interest in Snapchat as it is to interest in IGN on Snapchat.”

That’s encouraging news for Snapchat, which we reported last month is targeting $50 million in revenue this year; Discover is one of just two main revenue streams for the company, so it makes sense Snapchat is looking to add even more partners down the road.

 The current Discover design doesn’t have room for more partners.
The current Discover design doesn’t have room for more partners.
Snapchat

One interesting element will be how content is displayed within the app as the Discover section expands. Right now, Discover is designed so that all 12 channels fit nicely onto one screen. There isn’t room in the current design for 15 publishers, and Snapchat is testing different designs for that page, according to a source, although it’s still unclear what it will look like.

It could simply shrink the circles to fit another row, but that will be a temporary fix if the publishing roster continues to expand. Some of the publishers may be forced to live “below the fold,” where people are less likely to find them, but you can bet publishers won’t love that idea.

Snapchat also brought Discover content to the Stories page within the app a few weeks back to make it easier to find, and the majority of Discover traffic now comes from that screen, according to a source familiar with the feature. In that design, you can scroll left to right between channels, so adding new partners won’t be much of an issue.

These are the kinds of challenges media companies face as they expand. You can never have too much content, but the more you add, the harder it is for anything specific to stand out. The publishers we spoke with say they aren’t concerned about competition within Discover, but are certainly hoping to distinguish themselves.

Mashable, for example, will launch new content franchises specifically for Discover, and has an internal team called the Mashable Collective that creates content for social networks like Snapchat and Instagram, according to Mashable CMO Stacy Martinet.

Tastemade is building out original programming for its channel, too, including a slate of new shows it’s filming from its Santa Monica, Calif., studio. Both publishers plan to make vertical video a prominent part of the channel (that is, video shot specifically for viewing on a smartphone).

“We think this is just like the early days of cable,” explained Kydd. “There are going to be multi-billion-dollar brands built on these digital and mobile platforms, and we are extraordinarily bullish on Snapchat and how they are approaching this.”

The update is scheduled to launch on Thursday.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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