Ben Young
Ben Young
February 12, 2021

One big thing

You might have seen a few mentions of Snapchat Spotlight in the newsletter in the last few months. Spotlight is where any (and yes any) user can send in content to be featured. And if they get featured, they get a cut.

In this Guardian piece, they shine the light on 19-year-old Jack, whose video of his dog scampering across a conservatory roof earned him $20k. I mean, this is great. Commentators have long asked for creators to get a cut and a meaningful cut for creating great content.

Initiatives like this help lift the quality of all content. Because creativity is on show. A counterpoint may be that sharing the revenue will create mediocre content, and maybe it will at some point. Itโ€™s part of that reason (and the threat of TikTok) why Snapchat has done this.

“According to insiders, the feeling at Snapchat is that social media stars get big, then get lazy. If youโ€™re guaranteed millions of views whatever you post, then the temptation to just coast along with mediocre content and a few adverts can ruin the network as a whole. Instead, Spotlight treats every post โ€“ whether it comes from a Disney channel star or a 19-year-old from Norfolk โ€“ the same, showing them to a small fraction of users to gauge interest, and then more and more until the best have millions of views.”

Every day since it launched, Snap has split $1m between the creators of the top videos. Itโ€™s a win for Snap, encourages better content, more time in-app, and another reason to open the app.

Notable stories this week


  • Sharethrough & District M merge, raising $19m in combined company for growth.
  • Automattic acquires analytics company
  • Hudson MX raises $60m to improve buying across all media.
  • Magnite acquires CTV leader SpotX.
  • AppLovin acquires mobile measurement firm Adjust for $1b.
  • Microsoft made an approach to buy Pinterest.

Campaign of the week

  • Sage + TikTok launched a video sharing campaign, supporting small businesses. Take a look at a couple of ads from the campaign, by UK SME creators, here and here.


Datapoints of note

See all our Covid-19 data here.

  • YouTube Shorts App is getting 3.5b views per day. 100m are watching on TV each month.
  • 30% of marketers shifted advertising dollars into content marketing in 2020.
  • There are now 500,000 paid subscriptions across Substack. The top 10 writers collectively make more than $15m/year.
  • The Times exceeded 7.5m digital-only subscriptions in 2020.
  • Bloomberg Media expects to turn over $100m in consumer subscriptions in 2021.
  • Apple Watch reached 100M users in December, 30M of which came in 2020; 35% of US iPhone users wear an Apple Watch.

That’s it for this week.