As Univision Begins An 18-Month Partnership With Snapchat, Will The Platform Prove Its Value?

snapchat univisionWhen Univision embarks on an 18-month partnership with Snapchat, it will be the latest test for the nascent social platform to prove its value as a content hosting platform for broadcasters – and for brands advertising against that content.

The partnership, revealed Thursday, centers around Snapchat’s Live Stories product, “a curated stream of user submitted Snaps from various locations and events,” according to Snapchat’s support site.

“The gist of the partnership is to work closer together and to develop content that can be showcased,” said Mark Lopez, EVP and GM of Univision Digital. He aims to produce as many Univision-sponsored Live Stories as possible through the duration of the partnership, each containing a combination of user-generated content mixed with Univision-produced content.

“We need to learn and understand how curated Live Stories blend into the rest of our content modules,” Lopez said. “It’s getting into pockets of audience during specific moments of time.”

The long-term commitment builds off an April campaign, when Univision sponsored a Live Story around a soccer friendly between the US and Mexico. That particular story got 7 million uniques over a 24-hour period.

“For our segment, that’s a considerable audience for that amount of time,” Lopez said.

Because Univision’s segment is Spanish-speaking America, its Snapchat target includes bilingual millennials – “biennials,” as Lopez calls them.

“With the Mexico game [in April], we saw significant reach of US users when we had the Live Story up,” Lopez said. “The hope is to continue learning with each execution and to add value to our properties through the Snapchat window, and to make sure our advertisers have access to that audience.”

Univision will offer its major advertisers – generally those sponsoring its linear TV programs – the first right of refusal in buying ads against its Live Stories content. “We’ll be going out to advertisers to make them aware it exists,” Lopez said.

If Univision can’t sell advertising against it, then Snapchat’s ad sales team will step in. But Lopez is optimistic that Univision advertisers will bite at the Snapchat opportunity.

“There’s no reason why they wouldn’t want to test this window,” he said.

But advertisers have balked at Snapchat before. Its advertising value isn’t exactly proven the same way it is for Facebook. For one, the metrics that Snapchat supposedly provides aren’t granular enough to satisfy advertisers, though Lopez points out Snapchat provides “detailed reporting” around viewership and that “advertising is third-party tagged.”

The price of advertising might require more than that, however, and when Snapchat introduced its Discover channel, it tinkered with ad pricing. For Live Stories in particular, Re/code claims Snapchat charges two cents per view for a 10-second ad shown against user-generated content. If that’s accurate, Univision’s 7 million uniques could cost advertisers an extra $140,000 per day.

Of course, publishers getting involved with Snapchat have offered some perks to advertisers, as the platform tries to prove its worth. When National Geographic, for instance, launched on Snapchat’s Discover channel, it sent out the following enticement in an email to prospective advertisers:

“As we continue to monitor the viewers and views to a point in which they stabilize, we are rewarding launch partners with the baseline guaranteed views (250K per ad placement). Therefore, each launch partner will only be paying for those baseline views and all other views are bonus … that is a ton of bonus views!”

Lopez didn’t dive into the cost of advertising or the specifics around how Univison would approach brands. He also declined to discuss the exact nature of the revenue-sharing model between Snapchat and Univision.

But he extolled the scale of Snapchat’s platform, particularly during major events, and he was interested in figuring out how different factors effect the views Univision would get as it launched various Live Stories.

“It’ll vary depending on the theme, whether you do sporting events, the teams playing, the time of year,” Lopez said. “There are a lot of variances around it. But on an aggregate basis, when you do a number of events throughout the year, it’s all added eyeballs and added revenue we didn’t have before.”

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