SnapChat has recently announced the launch of its Bitmoji TV in February of the coming year, 2020. With the launch, all its users will get to see their avatars star in an animated cartoon series called Bitmoji TV. The avatars of SnapChat users and their friends will also be featured in short movies which will be scheduled for release on a regular basis. The users will see their avatars play characters like a zombie or a secret agent with an affinity for machines, or a member of the Star Trek spaceship.
SnapChat, in a bid to outdo its competitors, announced this launch, an initiative that plays to SnapChat’s strength as “TV is actually a return to Bitmoji’s roots”. SnapChat acquired Bitstrips (now Bitmoji) in the year 2016 for $64.2 million. This app allowed its users to convert their selfies into customisable avatars, which could be used as characters in short comic strip format stories. Bitstrips saw 330 million downloads in 2016, since then, SnapChat has included Bitstrips capabilities on their main server.
Bitmoji has faced stiff competition from Facebook who looked to be on an innovation-theft spree with its launch of Facebook Watch in retaliation to Snap’s Discover and also acquiring the platform Instagram for approximately one billion. To rival SnapChat on the short video-sharing sphere, Facebook has also experimented with its own version of chat stickers. Whereas, other similar platforms, apart from Facebook, have not made any progress in this field.
Bitmoji TV was definitely a smart move by SnapChat, which was aimed at consolidating its 210 million daily users, most of whom are teenagers. When compared to other established platforms in Facebook or Twitter, the likes of which will not be able to outrightly imitate the fun, goofy and light-hearted spirit that SnapChat has always been associated with. SnapChat, in an effort to retain its users, has been on a constant effort to introduce robust and engaging features centred around users’ avatars. SnapChat hopes to draw newer users to the platform by making the experience more personal, compelling a healthy turnout. The issue SnapChat will face in the future will be the lack of storylines for the avatars to participate in, however, many Hollywood writers, directors, producers and other members may find new employment opportunities with SnapChat in the coming months.
SnapChat, especially the Discover platform, has been reduced to a gossip column with distasteful content, primarily meant for click-baiting. Many reputable agencies have stayed away from posting ads on SnapChat just to stay clear of any negative associations or interpretations of their brands. Bitmoji TV, as an initiative, shoulders big responsibility of uplifting the organisation’s facade and improve its stock market valuations.