CNN scraps Snapchat show, citing difficulties with making money

CNN
CNN announced its Snapchat show in August and at the time sounded confident the short-form content would resonate with Snapchat users. (Josh Hallett/Flickr)

Only four months after launching, CNN is pulling the plug on “The Update,” its daily second-day news program on Snapchat after struggling to monetize the program on Snapchat’s platform.

According to The Wall Street Journal, CNN came to the “realization there wasn’t a clear enough path to make money.” The report says CNN was receiving licensing fees, but with those set to expire the network would be left only with advertising revenue for the Snapchat show.

CNN and Snapchat confirmed the shuttering of the show in a statement to the Journal:

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“Snap and CNN have built a great partnership over the years and our teams have enormous admiration for each other. We plan to keep working together and mutually decided to hit pause as we explore the best opportunities for doing that.”

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CNN announced its Snapchat show in August and at the time sounded confident the short-form content would resonate with Snapchat users.

“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. So, we’re serving that up, speaking their language and delivering it in beautiful, vertical, mobile friendly video,” said Samantha Barry, executive producer for social and emerging media at CNN, in a statement.

CNN isn’t the only network to launch a news program on Snapchat. NBC News has a news program called “Stay Tuned” which airs on the platform twice daily on weekdays and once daily on weekends.

Snapchat has recently taken steps to redesign its platform and make it simpler to use. But CNN’s decision to pull its news show indicates that Snapchat hasn’t entirely made it easier for programmers to monetize through advertising on the app.

MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said in a recent research report that Snapchat recently moved to separate the social and media aspects within its app.

“The lion’s share of Snap’s usage occurs within its messaging feature and, to a less extent, within Snap Stories. While high engagement in these areas is admirable, the platform doesn’t offer the best medium for advertising, particularly for those brands with concerns around content risk. On the other hand, while Snap’s media platform, Discovery, offers a strong and brand-safe media platform, we believe it’s very underutilized by Snap users, which limits ad inventory,” wrote Nathanson.