Is Snap doomed?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

Not a pretty picture:

One week after that filing, Twitter on Thursday announced fourth-quarter earnings for 2016. Twitter has been losing around $100 million a quarter for the past three years, and its user growth has been essentially flat.
Snapchat’s IPO filings showed that its own growth has already started to taper off, and that it lost over $500 million in 2016. That leaves potential investors with a big question about what sort of trajectory Snap is setting out on: Will it be the next Facebook, a humble startup turned massive, revenue-generating cash cow? Or will it be the next Twitter, a company that can’t seem to grow or make money?

Snap’s shareholders won’t actually have any say in how the company is run, but there is one potential upside for co-founders Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy: Twitter is a valuable blueprint for exactly how not to run a public social software company.

Twitter is nothing if not relevant—the president of the United States uses it as his personal bully pulpit—and yet the company has not figured out how to successfully monetize what has quickly become one of the most important tools in US diplomacy… or lack thereof.

Twitter has also realized, as Facebook has, that there’s a lot more money to be made in video advertising than text. But unlike Facebook, Twitter is still struggling to generate any noticeable revenue off of its live video partnerships, or its richer-content products like Moments. Snapchat, on the other hand, is at this point almost entirely a video-sharing and -watching service. Earlier this week, it announced a push into original content that includes bringing a version of BBC’s much-loved nature series, Planet Earth, to the social network.

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