It's been a busy week for Snap (NYSE: SNAP). Following a lock-up expiration on Monday, which included a modest amount of insider selling, and an analyst upgrade, shares have largely stabilized in the wake of a disappointing earnings release last week.
Helping the bounce is a fresh report from Axios that says that NBC's new Stay Tuned show that debuted on Snapchat Discover a month ago has quickly garnered 29 million unique viewers.
Don't touch that dial?
If true, that stat would be a strong showing for the first month, growing a respectable audience within a notoriously hard-to-reach demographic. Stay Tuned runs twice a day and each clip only lasts a few minutes, the type of easily "snackable" content that mobile audiences generally gravitate toward to on social media platforms.
NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), previously invested $500 million in Snap during the IPO in March as part of its digital growth strategy. More than 60% of Stay Tuned's viewers are under 25 years old, and the show now has 1 million subscribers, according to the report.
The broader pivot to video
Stay Tuned is part of the Snapchat operator's broader pivot toward becoming a video platform. It's not just going to be about ephemeral photo/video messages anymore, or even live photo/video filters that deliver augmented reality (AR) experiences. It's going to increasingly be about creating a video platform -- and more to the point for investors -- video ads.
What's less clear is Snap's ability to execute and monetize that viewership, since its ad business is incredibly young. It's still early days for Snap's monetization, and the company undoubtedly has a lot of potential upside there; average revenue per user (ARPU) was a mere $1.05 last quarter.
Thus far in Snap's short life as a public company, it has already been dogged by investor pessimism around slowing daily active user (DAU) growth, which could trigger uncomfortable feelings of deja vu for some social media investors that initially had high hopes for Twitter years ago. But to the extent that Snap can improve monetization and ARPU, it can potentially offset some of that negativity around user growth if it can make more money from its existing user base, which now stands at 173 million global DAUs.
Meanwhile, Facebook is hard at work building its own video platform, recently announced as Watch, that will also include a fair amount of original content that Facebook is funding. Snapchat shows appear to be off to a reasonably strong start, and now it's up to the company to capitalize on that usage as best it can.
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Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of FB. Evan Niu, CFA has the following options: long January 2019 $20 puts on Snap Inc. and long January 2018 $120 calls on FB. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends FB and TWTR. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.