Snapchat Now Charges if You Want to Replay Snaps
Snapchat built its sizable base on a simple premise: Watch a short video once, and it’s gone forever. Now, it’s hoping to help sustain its business by heading the opposite direction. Pay a buck, and you’ll get a second chance to watch three snaps.
The idea of a Replay isn’t entirely new territory for Snapchat; the app has allowed its users to resurrect one snap a day, for free, for nearly two years now. But in a world of so many bygone snaps, how to choose just one to revisit? (You can still only replay any individual snap once). And, from Snapchat’s perspective, in a world of so little revenue streams, why not try to monetize a feature that’s already in place and presumably popular?
At first, 99 cents sounds like a lot for a three-snap stay of execution. Just for fun, let’s do some quick math to see how it breaks down. Assuming all three snaps one saves are the full 10-second length, that’s 30 total seconds of snap, meaning each second costs, at minimum, 3.3 cents. At that rate of exchange, renting the two-hour-long blockbuster Mad Max from iTunes would cost $237.60.
Then again, who can put a price on memories, especially those that self-destruct by design?
The Snapchat update includes a few free features as well, the most appealing of which is Lenses, which lets users put filters over their selfies that range from amusing (a Terminator-ish heads up display; premature aging) to horrifying (literally vomiting rainbows, some sort of vampire something). To activate a Lens, press and hold on your face when you’re in selfie mode, and select your favorite from a row at the bottom of your display.
Snapchat hasn’t officially confirmed, but Lenses seems almost certainly the result of an (unannounced) acquisition of Looksery, an app that uses facial recognition to create similar and, in a few cases, identical real-time filters to video and images. That company’s website is still up, but the app has been pulled from both the App Store and Google Play without explanation.
Last comes Trophies, first spotted by The Next Web in August, an attempt to gamify ephemeral messaging by bestowing virtual awards for various achievements, like sending 10 snaps with front-facing flash on. This, too, helps address Snapchat’s revenue requirements; rewards drive engagement, and more engagement means more eyeballs on ads and branded content.
Why the (admittedly soft) push for more incoming dollars? Well, that $19 billion valuation isn’t going to pay for itself, and documents recently surfaced by Gawker show that as of last fall the fledgling company’s expenses far outweighed its income. That’s common, and in fact expected, for a venture-backed start-up in a growth phase. At a certain point, though, you have to start living up to those lofty expectations.
Replay income alone won’t do it. In-app purchases drive the bulk of the app economy, but most of those profits come from “whales,” power users who spend an exorbitant amount to reach the next Candy Crush plateau. Maybe there are people who want to replay a dozen snaps a day, but in enough volume to make for significant income? That may be a stretch.
Or not! No one knows yet, not even Snapchat. Which is why you should think of this as just one more in a long line of ways the company will try to turn a profit, some of which will work, and some of which will disappear before your very eyes.
Originally posted here –