Snapchat's news section Discover frequently features Kim Kardashian photos, dog photos, Kourtney Kardashian photos, iPhone photos, and sometimes even photos of only kind-of-Kardashians — like Kylie Jenner.
CNN is hoping that hard news can break through all that click-y content. On Monday, the news outlet released its new Snapchat show The Update. The show will feature a daily news show every night at 6 p.m. ET as well as breaking news segments throughout the day exclusively on the app.
CNN's move is an overhaul of the company's previous work on Snapchat and aligns with Snap Inc.'s big bet in TV-like content. Just last month, NBC News launched Stay Tuned, its twice-daily news show for Snapchat.
Since Snapchat Discover's launch in January 2015, CNN's Snapchat channel has featured a selection of written news articles.
But now, CNN on Snapchat is looking way more like television. The new show will feature CNN anchors and correspondents around the world speaking to the camera just as they would for TV. That will be mixed with graphics and split-screen clips about the topics.
For Snapchat users, consuming CNN is less about reading words on a screen and more about tuning into a three-or-so minute news segment on their smartphones. Each episode for The Update will feature five or more stories.
The experience is like everything else Snapchat users do on the app but with one major difference. To really get the most of CNN's show, viewers need to have their sound on. That's a necessary evil as Snap competes to provide high-quality, short-form content and pull from the $70 billion trapped in TV advertising in the U.S.
CNN's The Update is the latest development in Snap Inc.'s effort to excite users and bring in more revenue. Snap posted another disappointing quarter of earnings earlier this month. Snapchat's 173 million daily active users look pitiful next to the 250 million people using Instagram's Snapchat-clone Stories every day. Snap's average revenue per user remains tiny compared to Facebook's and Google's treasure chests of digital advertising dollars.
But the question is: Do people on Snapchat want to consume breaking news content on an app that they use for taking selfies, funny photos, and texting? Snapchat's other shows like ABC's The Bachelor, E!'s Life of Kylie, and MTV's Girl Code are much more lifestyle. Even NBC's Stay Tuned has featured pop news since its launch.
According to Snapchat and to CNN, the answer is yes.
“It’s more critical than ever that Snapchatters have access to the best journalism in the world, right when news breaks, and we’re excited to watch CNN deliver that to them through The Update," Sean Mills, senior director of content programming for Snapchat, said in a statement.
Snapchat can point to some successes with hard news shows in the app. NBC's show Stay Tuned has pulled in more than 29 million unique viewers since launching July 18. Good Luck America, a political news show anchored by Snap's head of news Peter Hamby, has garnered more than 5 million viewers each episode.
That overall viewership is comparable to TV news—though it's no apple-to-apples comparison. But Snapchat does have a unique audience, not commonly known for tuning into TV. Nearly 75 percent of the audience for Good Luck America is under the age of 25,.
That millennial attention is good for CNN.
“We are introducing our brilliant cast of world class anchors and reporters to a young audience in a smart, accessible way with ‘The Update,'" Samantha Barry, CNN’s executive producer for social and emerging media, said in a statement. “In today’s news environment, people are hungry for news and they want a quick update of where things are at within one tap of their phone."