NBCUniversal Makes $500M Investment in Snapchat IPO

Company plans to do additional shows on social messaging service
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NBCUniversal said it made a $500 million investment in Snap as part of the Snapchat parent company’s initial public offering.

Like many media companies, NBCU has created programming for Snapchat in order to reach the social messaging service’s young users. NBCU plans to launch more Snapchat shows now that it has a stake in Snap.

NBCU has been aggressively investing in hot digital companies, including $400 milion in BuzzFeed and $200 million in Vox, in order to broaden its reach and diversify from its traditional media roots. It also acquired SportsEngine, which manages youth sports online.

“Our partnership with Snap builds on our strategy to drive digital growth for our business, both organically and through investments and acquisitions,” said NBCU CEO Steve Burke in a memo to staff on Friday.

“I am proud of the strides we have made in the digital space recently.  With the Snap investment, we have invested over $1.5 billion in promising digital businesses in the last 18 months. Importantly, we have become a better, more digitally-focused company as a result,” Burke said in the memo.

Burke noted that it NBCU acquired a majority stake in AwesomenessTV when it bought DreamWorks and has started two over-the-top channels, Seeso and Hayu. It also owns a stake in Hulu.

“Looking forward, we will continue to be aggressive as digital content consumption increases.  Investing in Snap is a key step in that direction, and I am pleased to share this exciting news with you. It is rare to have the opportunity to invest at this stage in a company as visionary and dynamic as Snap, and it is a compliment that they chose NBCU as a partner,” he said.

Last year NBCU worked with Snapchat to create a pop-up Discover channel featuring Olmpic content created by BuzzFeed. During the Rio game, the content attracted more than 2 billion view. The company plans to work with Snapchat and BuzzFeed on Olympic content during the 2018 Winter Games.

NBCU shows including The Voice, Saturday Night Live and E! News have also created shows for Snapchat.

NBCU said earlier that ads on Snapchat would be included in its Audience Symphony product, which helps clients target specific audience groups across the NBCU portfolio of broadcsat, cable and digital assets.

(Photo via Adam Przezdziek's Flickr. Image taken on April 29, 2016 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 9x16 aspect ratio.)

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