In the nearly six months since its initial public offering, Snap Inc. has been closely monitored by the company’s investors, supporters and critics. The corporate parent of Snapchat is the subject of constant speculation, with some pointing to its young and highly engaged audience as markers of success, and others raising concerns over its failure to meet high growth expectations.
Snap posted disappointing earnings in its second quarter, which ended June 30. It generated revenue of $181.7 million, compared with $71.8 million in Q2 of 2016. Net losses totaled $443 million, resulting in a loss of $0.16 per share. Analysts had predicted revenue of $185.8 million, and losses of $0.14 per share.
Snapchat did gain 7.3 million daily active users this past quarter, which falls short of the 8 million users in the three months previous, and the 9 million or 10 million investors were hoping for. However, the app added 4 million daily active users in North America, which is a promising sign for growth in its home market. And Snapchat users still spend a lot of time there; Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said daily users under 25 spend an average of 40 minutes on the app, and those over 25 average 20 minutes.
But while these numbers may not have met investors’ expectations for the quarter, Snapchat is evolving and innovating in promising ways. The app has always had a reputation for being a trendsetter, and it is expanding the type of digital content it offers its users.
NBC News launched its first daily show, “Stay Tuned,” on Snapchat this summer, and it reported an audience of more than 29 million unique viewers after its first month on the air.
Other Snapchat shows have also shown solid viewership, including E!’s “The Rundown” with an average of 7 million viewers per episode, and A+E’s “Second Chance” with more than 8 million viewers. These short, fast-paced shows have performed well on mobile, where audiences tune in when they have a few minutes at a time to watch.
Snap has partnerships with networks including NBC, ABC and the BBC, as well as a $100-million agreement with Time Warner, which will result in 10 new Snapchat shows.
At the Edinburgh International Television Festival this week, Snapchat’s head of content Nick Bell said the company was likely to move into scripted content before the end of the year. Bell said that mobile is “complementary” to television, not a threat. Snapchat’s scripted content will still conform to the app’s short-form format, with an ideal length of three to five minutes.
Snap has encountered some growing pains in its first few months as a public company, but it’s still keeping its competitors on their toes.