The most popular and little used feature of Snapchat will finally come into focus in 2020. Starting in February, your customizable Bitmoji avatar with a global release will be the star of a fully animated cartoon called Bitmoji TV. It's a tremendous development for Bitmoji, beyond the chat stickers and comic stories in which they have so far been wasted.
Creating original in-house discoveries that can't be copied could help make Snapchat different from the variety of short-form video platforms that range from YouTube to Facebook to TikTok. Bitmoji TV could also improve the quality of Discover, which still feels like a tabloid magazine rack full of scantily clad women, rough pictures, and other shocking content that is only meant to attract attention and make a click.
With Bitmoji TV, your avatar and that of your friends will appear in regular adventures, from playing the crew of Star Treky spaceships to secret agents to falling in love with robots or becoming zombies. The trailer released by Snapchat shows a preview of an animation style reminiscent of Netflix Big Mouth.
TechCrunch asked Snap for more information, including how long the episodes last, how often they are published, whether they contain advertising, and whether the company has acquired anyone or hired famous talent to produce the series. A Snap spokesman declined to provide further details, but sent the following statement: "Bitmoji TV is not yet available on your network, but will be kept up to date for the upcoming world premiere!"
The Snapchat show page for Bitmoji TV notes that it will be released in February 2020. Users can subscribe to Bitmoji TV on their phone here for it to be featured prominently on their Discover page, or enable notifications about the new content.
Snap recognizes the value of Bitmoji
Snap had a couple of difficult years as many of its core functions were ruthlessly copied by the Facebook app family. Instagram stories have held Snaps growth for years and effectively stole the transmission medium from its inventor. Facebook has also expanded the selfie filters for augmented reality, added new features for ephemeral messages, and introduced Watch as a competitor to Snapchat Discover.
Two years ago I wrote that Facebook was crazy not to compete with Bitmoji. Half a year later, we reported for the first time that Facebook Avatars is in the works, and this year they started as messenger chat stickers in Australia with plans for global release in 2019 or early 2020. But Facebook's slow movement here is Google's Half-hearted post and the lack of a try on Twitter has given Snapchat & # 39; s Bitmoji a huge head start. And now Snap is finally using it.
"TV" is actually a return to Bitmoji's roots. The startup Bitstrips originally offered an app that allowed you to customize your avatar's face, hair, clothing, and more, and then create comics. Snap already bought Bitstrips in 2016 for only $ 64.2 million – a bargain that wasn't far from Facebook Instagram for less than a billion. The standalone Bitmoji app went up in the air when Snapchat offered the avatars as chat stickers. According to Sensor Tower, there were more than 330 million downloads in April, although you can now use Snapchat to create your avatar in the main app.
Eventually Snap started to expand the uses of Bitmoji. Bitmoji became 3D in 2017 and you could start overlaying them on your snaps as augmented reality characters. The next year, Snap improved the graphics and then launched the Snap Kit developer platform and Bitmoji Kit. This allows apps to build based on Snapchat login and use your Bitmoji as a profile picture. They soon appeared as Fitbit smartwatch faces next to your Venmo transaction and on goods sold by Snapchat, from t-shirts to mugs. It is part of a smart strategy to hit copycat by allowing allies to use the real thing instead of building their own copycat. That fueled the "snapback" comeback, where Snap's share price rose from $ 5.79 at the beginning of 2019 to now $ 16.09.
One of Snap's smartest innovations were Bitmoji Stories – the ancestor of Bitmoji TV. In these daily stories, you can navigate frame by frame through short comic-style interactions with your avatar. Occasionally, Bitmoji stories contained rudimentary animations, but most of the frames were still images with text bubbles. Bitmoji could push a story again instead of just being a communication tool. Still, they don't seem to be busy.
In 2019, Snapchat got wiser. Bitmoji has become almost ubiquitous among teenagers and 210 million daily Snapchat users. They are Google or Kleenex for personalized cartoon avatars. Her silly nature also fits Snapchat perfectly and is one reason why it is difficult for more rigid and older technology giants to copy convincingly.
In April, Snap announced its new game platform as part of its messaging feature that allows you as Bitmoji to play against your friends' avatars in games ranging from Mario Party to Bitmoji Party to tennis, shoot-em-ups and cooking competitions , Snap inserts ads into the games, making Bitmoji the key to its efforts to monetize the core messaging use case. Tailored and branded clothing for Bitmoji was launched last month that offers opportunities to make money from premium outfits or demonstrate brand sponsorship.
However, to really take advantage of the unique popularity of Bitmoji, Snap had to gain a lot of experience with the avatars in the center. Stickers and stories and games were fun, but none seemed to be a must. With Bitmoji TV, Snap may have found a way to get users to drag their friends into the app. Since everyone sees their own Bitmoji as a star, the cartoons could be more compelling than those with impersonal characters that you might find elsewhere on the Internet.
However, Bitmoji TV's success will largely depend on the quality of the writing. If your avatar keeps getting into funny, meme-worthy situations, keep coming back and watching. But Snap's youthful audience has a sharp nose for fake bullsh * t. If the shows feel too childish or boring, Bitmoji TV will flop. Snap would be wise to invest in great Hollywood talent to produce the aftermath.
High quality Bitmoji TV shorts could save Snapchat Discover from its own mediocrity. There are some strong brands like ESPN SportsCenter on the platform and Snap has several original shows with more than 25 million unique viewers. It's also another green glowing season of shows like "Dead Girls Detective Agency" and new biopic clips from Serena Williams and Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, scrolling through the Discover and Shows sections reveals a lot of trashy clickbaits that are sure to scare off premium advertisers.
Bitmoji TV could offer videos that are not only entertaining and tasty, but are also out of reach for competitors that do not have their own scaled avatar platform. As with the launch of Snapchat cameos, the company found that the addictive experiences are in the users own face. Snapchat has turned the selfie into the future of communication. With Bitmoji TV you can embed your selfie animatedly into the future of content.