How Snap Video Hit ‘Phone Swap’ Found Its Audience; Roku’s Open Platform Buoys IPO

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Secret Sauce

What’s the secret behind Snap’s breakout hit, “Phone Swap,” which pulled in 14.8 million viewers on its third episode? “You have to work very hard to keep someone’s attention,” said Elisabeth Murdoch, founder and chair of the show’s content studio, Vertical Networks, speaking at Advertising Week. “We will be looking at analytics and changing things mid-day to lift the audience.” While audiences are quick to skip over video clips that bore them, they stay once Vertical Networks figures out the formula, Murdoch said. “Ninety-two percent of people who watched two episodes of ‘Phone Swap’ never skipped again. They’re demanding, but the loyalty is real,” Murdoch said. Plus, Vertical Networks is turning a profit 18 months in.

Branded World

Another hit on Snap, this one on the marketer side, are its branded 3-D lenses, with which one in three daily active users plays every day. Now, Snap is opening up more Lens inventory for brands through 3-D World Lenses – AR overlays on its outward-facing camera, Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan announced on stage at Advertising Week. Read the blog post. Brands like Warner Bros. and Bud Light are using the feature to give users get a better sense of what an actual product might look like through augmented reality. Khan also shared some stats around Snap’s platform, like that it’s raking in 3 billion snaps a day on average. The most alarming figure regards Snap’s infamous puppy lens, which has gotten a total of 7,000 years of play across Snap’s user base since launch. Gen Z is coming.

Roku Soars

Roku went public Thursday, and its stock soared 67%. Although Roku faces steep competition from other top streaming device makers – Google’s Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Apple – the company’s operating system is leveraged by other manufacturers and MVPDs. “They’re like the Switzerland of the streaming box world,” Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research told the Los Angeles Times. “They’re an open platform, which is a big part of their value proposition.” More. Related in AdExchanger: That open approach has fueled growth in Roku’s ad business.

Sales Chief Swap

Less than a year after jumping to Condé Nast to serve as chief business officer and head of revenue, AOL’s former sales chief Jim Norton is out. He will be replaced by Pamela Drucker Mann [press release], the publishing group’s current CMO, who will also take on Norton’s role. Drucker Mann, who was instrumental in founding vertical specialties at Condé Nast, like the Food Innovation Group, “truly understands the power and potential of our brands,” wrote CEO Bob Sauerberg in a company memo. Hiring Norton, who hailed from the digital world, was seen as a fairly progressive move. But despite progressive reorg efforts, Norton didn’t quite jibe with the company’s “core” business of luxury fashion and beauty. More on WWD.

But Wait, There’s More!

You’re Hired!

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