Snap has acquired the Swiss startup Strong.Codes, Bloomberg reports. Strong.Codes makes software tools that obscure code so competitors find it harder to reverse-engineer it. Snap's Snapchat app has seen strong competition from Facebook's Instagram, which has copied many of its most popular features in the past year. MG
NBC News is launching a twice-daily show on Snapchat to attract younger viewers
The "Stay Tuned" news show will be three to four minutes long per episode and feature two 10-second ads. It will focus on current events and other issues of the day and will air at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. EDT on weekdays and 1 p.m. EDT on weekends, reports Reuters. NBC says it's part of an effort to reach younger viewers who increasingly consume news on mobile only. For Snap, the company hopes the show will help increase user engagement, driving more users to consume content through the app. The average Snapchat user currently checks the app 18 times a day and uses it for more than 30 minutes in total. MG
Snap’s Spectacles are now available on Amazon
The company's camera glasses were previously only available through pop-up vending machine locations and in the company's own web store—and those who wanted the glasses had to wait weeks for their orders to ship from Snap. The Spectacles' new availability on Amazon should help anyone who wants a pair get one, and it may also help Snap shift more of them. As Recode reported, Snap likely only sold around 60,000 of the Spectacles last quarter.
[Screenshot: Amazon] MG
Evan Spiegel is probably glad it’s Friday
Snapchat has had a rough week. On Tuesday, Morgan Stanley, the bank that helped Snap Inc. go public, downgraded the company's stock. Now another firm has followed suit. Cowen has lowered its rating of Snap's stock, reports CNBC, which has already led the company's shares to tumble even more. Currently Snap's stock is at $15.44, below its IPO price of $17. Analysts are cutting their outlooks for the company over questions about its user growth and ability to bring in ad revenue. The big point these firms keep coming back to is that it's early days for Snap. There's no telling when it will be able to turn a profit, or if it will continue to grow at a competitive pace.
Snapchat’s wacky new 3D lenses might just follow you around
Snapchat just launched "World Lenses," which basically represent a bigger push into augmented reality. The new feature brings Snapchat's popular lenses beyond people's faces, letting you overlay 3D images—rainbows, clouds, etc.—onto the real world.
"While Snapping with the rear-facing camera, simply tap the camera screen to find new Lenses that can paint the world around you with new 3D experiences!" the company said in a release this morning.
Read more about the feature from Snapchat here.
[Image: Snapchat] CZ
Snap says Snapchat is for everyone – including Indians
Since it was revealed that court filings from a former employee alleged Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said Snapchat "is only for rich people" and "I don't want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain," the company has faced harsh criticism and an attack of 1-star reviews in the iOS and Android app stores. Which is why Snap has reached out to several Indian publications to deny Spiegel ever said any such things, reports Business Insider. The Snap spokesperson said:
"This is ridiculous. Obviously, Snapchat is for everyone! It's available worldwide to download for free. Those words were written by a disgruntled former employee. We are grateful for our Snapchat community in India and around the world."
Snapchat and MGM are teaming up to produce four-minute TV shows
Just a few weeks after its highly anticipated IPO, Snap Inc. took another huge step toward becoming more of a media company than a messaging client today with the announcement of a new partnership with MGM. The deal is the first between Snapchat's parent company and a major entertainment studio and will bring MGM-produced shows to Snapchat's Discover platform.
Unlike traditional television programs, the shows will be just 4-5 minutes in length, and they'll all be shot vertically so they'll fill your phone's screen. Shows being developed for the platform will cover a range of different genres, including both scripted and unscripted comedies and dramas. MGM isn't Snapchat's only outside content provider. The company has announced deals with ABC, NBC, Turner, the BBC, A+E Networks, and Discovery Networks, among others, to produce shows for the platform in recent months.
Evan Spiegel got an $800 million bonus for taking Snap public
Snap Inc. shares will start trading at $17 on NYSE tomorrow morning
This is exciting: Snapchat's parent company set its initial public offering of stock at $17 a share, which would put its valuation at about $24 billion, Reuters reports. That's more than double what Twitter was worth for its debut in late 2013.
Following a rather fallow period for tech IPOs, Snap Inc. is one of the most anticipated stock debuts in a long time. The social network—er, sorry, camera company—will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange tomorrow. Business journalists love new ticker symbols, so get ready to see a lot of articles with NYSE:SNAP embedded into them.
[Photo: Snap] CZ
Snapchat built a drone so you could take selfies from the sky
With just one day to go until Snap's IPO, the New York Times reports that the company has built a drone that "could help Snap's users take overhead videos and photographs, and then feed that visual data to the company." However, it's unknown if the drone will ever be released as a consumer hardware product–a la Snap's Spectacles–or if it will amount to nothing more than an R&D experiment. MG
Snap expects investors to hold its stock for a year
The company disclosed that it expects up to a quarter of its investors who buy shares in its IPO to honor a one-year lock-up period, Reuters reports. The disclosure is a sign that Snap is confident its IPO will be a success, with many expecting it to be the biggest U.S. IPO since Facebook went public. MG
On Snap IPO roadshow, investors worry about “elephant in the room”
And that elephant is named Instagram, Bloomberg reports. Ahead of its IPO next week, on Tuesday investors at the company's roadshow presentation in New York voiced concern over the future of Snapchat's user growth, given that Facebook-owned Instagram has been so successful in cloning Snapchat's time-limited video sharing features. The investors worry that Instagram is the reason for Snapchat's recent slowdown in new users, and not, as Snap insists, a product issue with the Android Snapchat app. One thing investors did like, however, was when Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said that the company is open to building its own data centers in the future. MG