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Sports Illustrated launches Snap Original series in push for Gen Z

By Asa Hiken

Sports Illustrated launches Snap Original series in push for Gen Z

Dive Brief:

Sports Illustrated launched a Snap Original series to connect with younger audiences, per a press release. America's Best Sports Videos debuted on Nov. 5 and is the publication's first effort on the social platform.
The series features clips of user-generated footage that will appear in weekly installments every Friday, and will be hosted by Sports Illustrated personality Ashley Nicole Moss. To watch the content, users can scan the publication's unique QR Snapcode or search its title on Snapchat's discover page.
As Sports Illustrated eyes younger audiences, its new series reflects how brands are increasingly considering social media as a must-have entry into the mobile space.

Dive Insight:

Sports Illustrated is angling to reach younger audiences with its new made-for-mobile series on Snapchat. Snap Originals are a popular TV alternative for Gen Zers who are less interested in the traditional medium, with over 85% of the cohort having watched one in the second half of last year, per a Snap statistic cited in the release. Given its longstanding history as a print magazine, Sports Illustrated could fare well by expending resources through the digital channel.

America's Best Sports Videos features the kind of snackable, user-generated content that resonates with younger audiences, as seen on short-video platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Snap's own copycat Spotlight. Moreover, as a current on-air host of digital content at Sports Illustrated, Ashley Nicole Moss brings a familiar face to the series that could appeal to viewers and her pool of nearly 48,000 followers on Instagram.

Sports Illustrated's move reflects how brands are increasingly looking to social media platforms to reach mobile-minded audiences. No longer simply in the business of connecting users, these platforms have grown their offerings to include original content, gaming and e-commerce, opening up more opportunities for brands to drive engagement amid a boom in mobile usage.

Partnerships like its latest with Snapchat have helped to spur large gains for Sports Illustrated Media Group. As of September, the property published by The Arena Group has grown more than 250% in the past year, with nearly 53 million unique visitors, per data cited in the release. In May 2020, Sports Illustrated began producing long-form video and audio projects under a partnership with its owner and 101 Studios.

As for Snapchat, the new series sees the platform tapping into sports media to build out its video offerings. Parent company Snap in May made similar expansions with the announcement of nine new original series to be premiered this year. Despite these efforts, Snap's Q3 earnings missed targets, in part due to Apple's tracking changes, per CEO Evan Spiegel.

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