Venice, California’s Snapchat will be opening a Toronto office, according to a report by Media in Canada, that will house a new Media Sales and Outreach department to “monetize its reach” in Canada.
The Toronto team will be staffed by the trio of Ashley Rutledge, until recently Group Director for Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, as well as Pascal Duffaut and Michael Wilson, who will tailor Canadian content for the platform, and promote Snapchat video ads, sponsored lenses and sponsored geofilters.
In March, Snapchat acquired Toronto-based personalized emoji platform BitStrips for a reported US$100 million.
Founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel, Snapchat is said to have over 150 million daily users and is now valued at a head-spinning US$18 billion.
Snapchat recently added a US$175 million Series F fundraising round to its US$1.8 billion fundraising total, but generated only US$59 million revenue in 2015 and continues to be dogged by questions regarding whether future growth can match its current valuation.
With such a high valuation and relatively modest revenues, Snapchat will need all the help a new Media Sales and Outreach department can give it, if it hopes to IPO in the near-term future.
86% of the video sharing platform’s U.S. users are 13- to 34-year-olds, who are theoretically driving an industry wide move to online advertising.
If the company can expand its roster of live broadcasting events, like sports and award ceremonies, it just might live up to the promise of the cord-cutting generation, which threatens to get rid of its cable package just as soon as streaming services can deliver live sports.
Until then, Millennials retain a both/and approach to media, watching both over-the-top streaming services and cable.
Aside from leveraging user-generated content, Snapchat recently launched Live Stories, which blends user-contributed media with content generated by Snapchat’s in-house production team to create narrative events, and Discover channels, which has seen the company partnering with Comedy Central, ESPN and Vice.
Whether Snapchat continues to expand its reach and builds an ever-elusive Millennial-targeted content and distribution channel or stalls out like Twitter remains to be seen.
So far, the only open job that Snapchat is advertising at its Toronto office is for a Software Engineer.
Travis Hoium of the Motley Fool says Snapchat has serious ambitions in augmented reality and cautions people who are dismissive of its “playfool tools” not to underestimate the company that is famous for putting dogs ears on a person’s face. He says respected firms such as Magic Leap and Hololens are also using digital overlays, but with more than 200-million daily active users Snapchat has the ability to take the tech much farther.
It’s not open and public about what it’s doing as AR, but Snapchat(NYSE:SNAP) has been a quietly powerful player in the industry. And now it’s reportedly planning to raise $1 billion — in part to develop even more AR technology. This may quietly be a big move in technology.
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