Evan Spiegel, co-founder and chief executive officer of Snap Inc., speaks during the New Work Summit in Half Moon Bay, California, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Snap on Monday announced the launch of Spotlight, a Snapchat feature that functions like TikTok and Instagram Reels.
Spotlight will show users the top snaps that have been submitted for consideration by the app’s more than 249 million daily users in a feed that they can swipe or tap through. Spotlight snaps will play in a continuous loop until users swipe to the next one.
Spotlight presents an opportunity for Snap to exponentially expand the amount of entertaining content available to users. Previously, Snapchat users were limited to seeing snaps posted by their friends or posted by publishers in the app’s Discover feature. Spotlight will give users a centralized location where they can access an endless feed of user-generated content.
Snap will motivate users to submit clips for Spotlight consideration by offering a daily pool of more than $1 million to users who create entertaining snaps. The company will use a proprietary equation to determine payout based on how many views a snap gets in comparison to that of other highly viewed snaps.
Users have to be 16 or older to earn a payout. The company will offer daily payouts through at least the end of 2020, a spokesman for the company told CNBC. This is similar to TikTok and Facebook’s Instagram Reels, both of which have started programs that pay creators to post photos and video clips on their products.
Spotlight will not include ads at launch, but a company spokesman said Snap expects it will introduce ads to the product in coming months.
The idea of a feed featuring short videos that play in a continuous loop was innovated by Twitter-owned Vine in 2013. Twitter shut down Vine in 2017, the same year that ByteDance acquired Musical.ly. ByteDance then merged Musical.ly with TikTok in 2018. TikTok presents user videos in the same type of feed. Most recently, Instagram threw its hat into this ring with the global launch of Reels in August.
The Snap spokesman said Spotlight draws inspiration from other services. In particular, lots of Snap users film videos using Snapchat’s camera, and unique augmented-reality features, before exporting and posting it to TikTok. Likewise, Reels inspired the company to develop Spotlight to make it easier for users to post content publicly.
Snap is hoping Spotlight will stand out on a number of key differentiators, the spokesman said. For example, Spotlight will not include any public comments. Most notably, Spotlight will not include any overtly political content at launch and Snap’s policies do not allow any posts with misinformation, the spokesman said.
To start, Spotlight will be available to users in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France. Users can find Spotlight by opening the Snapchat app and swiping to the far right tab or tapping on the play button icon at the bottom right corner of the screen.