Snapchat hiring journalists to become its own publisher

Not content to rely on major brands for its new media exploration section, Snapchat is also planning on making its own according to a new report by Digiday.

The company will produce high quality video, images, and text for people to view in the Discover tab. Theoretically, it will provide more content for Snapchat’s advertiser partnerships. Furthermore, it will help the company establish itself as a place to consume content, so it doesn’t just have to rely on its partners creating media specifically for Snapchat. As previously reported, the company is working with CNN, Vice, Buzzfeed, and a whole host of others to help them tailor content for its upcoming Discover section.

The company has been snapping up journalists for the endeavor, which explains why long time social reporter Ellis Hamburger left The Verge for Snapchat in November. According to their LinkedIn profiles, blogger Nicole James, videographer Matt Krautstrunk, Dom Smith, and CJ Smith, former MTV producer Greg Wacks, and even animator Kyle Goodrich will be joining him.

I’m curious to see what they create. Snapchat’s disappearing, finger holding format doesn’t naturally lend itself to media consumption. These people will have to get creative if they want Snapchat to become a second screen.

The recent leaked news of a soured Snapchat deal with Vevo, to create its own record label, also makes more sense now. It suggests that the company will look towards creating its own entertainment content in addition to — perhaps — journalistic. Music videos and comedy sketches are likely to be a better fit for the younger crowd then CNN reports.

Snapchat isn’t the only tech company pursuing a platisher (publisher meets platform) approach. Medium has faced criticism for its similar approach, and as Digiday pointed out Tumblr’s former platisher efforts failed spectacularly in 2013.

Surprise! Netflix Users Like TV

It should be no surprise, then, that self-reported Netflix users also watch a lot of regular TV, and have a higher incidence of Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus usage.

The weekend review: the e-book market

The most popular articles on Pro this week focused on the future of the e-book industry, and the devices, discovery tools, and consumer marketplaces that may prove to be the biggest players in the e-book’s growth trajectory.

Forget the iPad. Kindle Fire’s real competitor will be Facebook

Amazon’s new Kindle Fire is no iPad-killer. And clearly it wasn’t meant to be.

Rather than trying to copy the iPad, with its multipurpose functionality and enterprise-friendly software — a strategy sure to meet the same fate as HP’s TouchPad — Amazon is launching an integrated media platform that combines an extensive content library, an innovative browser, cloud-based storage and an inexpensive device that’s just good enough to consume it on.

“I think of it as a service,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the New York Times. “Part of the Kindle Fire is of course the hardware, but really, it’s the software, the content, it’s the seamless integration of those things.”

From a strategic perspective, in fact, the nearest parallel to Amazon’s approach (and thus the nearest competitor) is really Facebook’s newly launched media platform, not the iPad. Both Facebook and Amazon are attempting to build self-contained content ecosystems that leverage their individual strengths and are designed to increase media usage and consumption rather than to sell more multipurpose devices.

In Facebook’s case, that means making media consumption and discovery part of the core social experience of using the platform, through the new ticker and by integrating your use of media services like Spotify and Netflix into your Facebook profile. In Amazon’s case, it means integrating your media consumption with the Amazon Web Service architecture and the new “smart browser,” Silk, to deliver a personally optimized experience.

While the experience each delivers is different, both the Amazon and Facebook strategies are more platform- and content-centric than Apple’s device-based strategy.

The parallels are likely to get even more keen when Facebook launches Project Spartan, which could happen within weeks. Project Spartan (presumably a code name) is an HTML5-based mobile version of Facebook that will allow the social network to overlay its own platform atop native-mobile operating systems like iOS and Android, and avoid funneling transactions  (and user data) through proprietary app stores.

According to the scuttlebutt, in fact, the first iteration of Project Spartan is built specifically for the mobile Safari browser that runs on the iPhone and iPad. Its launch, originally scheduled for this summer, apparently is tied up with the launch of Facebook’s iPad app, which has been delayed by ongoing negotiations between Facebook and Apple.

Eventually, however, Facebook’s HTML5 mobile platform will launch and will be extended to Android and BlackBerry devices and to other mobile browsers. At that point, consumers will have a clear choice between a socially optimized mobile media consumption and discovery platform from Facebook, and a personally optimized mobile media and e-commerce platform from Amazon.

Content owners and distributors, too, will face an interesting choice. Facebook’s socially optimized platform promises to turbocharge media discovery by making all content essentially viral. Facebook’s networked architecture will also enable new media use cases built around sharing and conversation, some of which will translate into new monetization opportunities for content owners.

The Kindle Fire platform promises to make media usage highly personalized and therefore targetable. The “split architecture” of the Silk browser, moreover, which can shift heavy-lift processing to the cloud, will enable new levels of richness and functionality in media applications that would not be possible on mobile devices that rely entirely on local processing.

Content owners and developers, then, will need to think about where they’re likely to find the most upside: Will it be in enabling new, social-based use cases and discovery or from building personalized, rich-media applications?

Bottom line: Both Amazon and Facebook are playing a different media game than the one Apple is playing, but they’re playing it against each other.

Question of the week

Can the Kindle Fire thrive alongside the iPad?

Is the iPad Launching the Two-Screen Revolution?

iPad owners are starting to see more and more apps that encourage the use of the device in conjunction with other screens. These apps allow the iPad to act as a supplemental screen for another, and they represent a new stage in our consumption of media.

Infographic: The Selling Power of the iPad

A new report from online publishing company Yudu Media presents a very convincing case that when it comes to marketing and audience, few devices can compare with the iPad. The report paints a picture of a device tailor-made to sell content, products and services.