Snapchat has launched a TikTok-esque in-app entertainment platform dedicated to promoting the most popular user-generated content.
The video-sharing app’s new feature, called Spotlight, allows users to share a post publicly in Spotlight, just as they would privately with their friends in Stories.
The more views a post gets in a 24-hour timeframe, the higher it will move up the leaderboard. Those that reach the top earn will earn their creators a share of more than $1 million (£750,000) in prize money.
While Snaps are usually only seen between friends in the app if users’ profiles are set to private, Spotlight lets them share posts publicly while still protecting their identity from strangers.
This means that content creators will have a chance to create a Snap that’s widely viewed, whether they have two followers or 2 million.
Spotlight launches today for Snapchat users in the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia and six other countries.
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Spotlight, which launches today for UK users, is a new entertainment platform for user-generated content within the Snapchat app
Snap Inc, the US company behind Snapchat, said it is lowering the threshold for people to be able to monetise videos – a luxury usually only afforded to ‘influencers’ with millions of followers.
WHERE IS SPOTLIGHT AVAILABLE?
Spotlight is available for Snapchat users in the following countries:
The UK, Ireland, the US, Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France.
More countries will get the feature ‘soon’, Snap Inc said.
‘Snapchatters are some of the most expressive and creative mobile storytellers in the world and Spotlight gives them an opportunity to share their creations broadly,’ said Snap Inc.
‘With over four billion snaps created each day, Spotlight empowers the Snapchat community to express themselves and reach a large audience in a new way.’
Usually on Snapchat, Snaps – the short video clips themselves – can only be seen by people you are friends with on the app.
Spotlight, meanwhile, allows users to post a public Snap, while keeping the rest of their profile private.
Other users can see and share the Spotlight Snap, but no-one can reply or see the poster’s profile.
Some Snapchat accounts of people who have public accounts, such as celebrities, can be searched for and have their stories viewed.
With Spotlight, users don’t need to have a public account for their Snap to appear on Spotlight – only ‘a great Snap’.
Having created a video within Snapchat, users will now see a new Spotlight option appear when choosing where to send their clip.
Snap Inc admitted that Spotlight was ‘inspired by other platforms’, including TikTok, but the feature is ‘defined’ by the Snapchat community and ‘lowers the barrier to content creation’.
‘Spotlight gives our community a place to share publicly, which we see them desiring by the way they post to other platforms,’ the firm said.
Spotlight also ‘upholds its values on privacy’ – as it doesn’t feature public comments and profiles are set to private by default.
By distributing cash prizes per day to anyone who makes entertaining Snaps that appear on Spotlight, the company claims to be making the app more fair and fun – and one that doesn’t prioritise celebrities or public figures.
Snapchatters will have to be 16 or older to be able to have a chance to earn their share of $1 million every day.
The $1 million is a collective figure and will be divided up and given to multiple users who post successful Snaps.
Earnings are based on the total number of unique video views a Snap gets in a 24-hour period as compared to the performance of other Snaps that day.
Snap Inc will follow up with Snapchatters within a week of their post to get in touch if they’ve made a top Spotlight Snap that’s eligible for payment
They can earn money from the same Snap multiple times, as long as the submission is live, for up to 28 days after it was submitted.
Snap Inc said: ‘Spotlight will be defined by our community – how they see it, what they create and the stories they tell
Just like any Snaps, content that will appear on Spotlight will have to adhere to the platform’s community guidelines.
Snap said Spotlight will become tailored to each user over time based on their preferences and favourites.
Spotlight is not the only feature that brings to mind its video-sharing social networking rival TikTok, which is known for its short videos of people dancing.
In August, Snap Inc introduced a feature that lets users add popular songs to Snaps from a catalogue of music, thanks to deals with industry partners like Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group.
Although users will be able to connect to the full song in their player, there is not an option to see videos featuring the same song – a key feature offered by TikTok.
WHY DO YOUNG PEOPLE PREFER SNAPCHAT?
Snapchat’s popularity with teens and young adults has grown significantly since the platform first launched in 2011.
It has been suggested that the instant messaging app’s range of creative and interactive features like filters, lenses and Bitmoji, are partially responsible for its success.
These let you add effects to images and create virtual avatars and have since been adopted by rival platforms.
However, Snapchat’s relative privacy and the impermanence of material shared compared with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may be the crucial factor in its popularity among young people.
That’s according to Joseph Philleo, a USC undergraduate student in mathematics, economics and machine learning and self-described ‘Millennial tech adopter’ who discussed his thoughts on Quora.
On Snapchat, all content is time-limited and can be sent directly to an individual or small group of friends.
This lets you control exactly who sees the pictures and videos you make and for how long.
As a result, users feel free to share awkward, embarrassing or unflattering selfies, safe in the knowledge that this won’t be visible forever, unlike the permanent posts on other platforms.
This leads to a more authentic user experience and is of benefit to everyone who uses the app, but it’s a particular attraction for younger people.
More mature internet users may feel comfortable and confident being themselves in any online forum.
Snapchat, through its closed groups and temporary sharing, provides a sense of security for teens and youngsters who are still finding their way in the world to be themselves.