[Repost Bloomberg] Snapchat+ Users Rise to Seven Million in Sign of Demand for Its New AI Features

(Credit: Transcript by OpenAI Whisper)

Snapchat Plus users rise to 7 million in sign of demand for its new AI features. Snap Inc. said it now has 7 million subscribers for its Snapchat Plus offering, which gives users early or exclusive access to features on its social media app, including artificial intelligence tools. That's up from 5 million users in September for the service, which launched July 2022. Snap is aiming for 10 million users in the medium term, the company has said. Snap has been using the service to roll out early access to new features and improve them based on user feedback. The company initially launched its AI chatbot to those premium customers, for instance. It's part of a broader effort to drum up new money-making opportunities amid slowing revenue growth from ad sales. The revenue from subscribers also helps offset the cost of development of experimental technology at a time where Snap has cut back on most ventures that don't make money for the business. Most recently, Snap has given its subscribers the ability to use its AI tool to create images from text prompts to send to friends, to expand existing real pictures with AI assumptions of what else should be in the image, and to put friends together in images in fantastical settings. The company charges $3.99 a month for the service in most of its markets. With 7 million users, that would bring in more than $330 million a year, based on Bloomberg calculations. Analysts expect $4.6 billion in total annual revenue for 2023. Snapchat Plus is the company's main bet for generating revenue beyond advertising. Earlier this year, it ended efforts to sell augmented reality clothing try-on technology to retailers and shutter the business unit, called Ares. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. Rapid Subscriber Growth: Snapchat Plus reached 7 million subscribers, a significant increase from 5 million in September, demonstrating high demand for its exclusive AI features and early access to new tools.

  2. Revenue Diversification Strategy: The growth in Snapchat Plus subscriptions, priced at $3.99 per month, is a key part of Snap Inc.'s strategy to diversify revenue sources beyond advertising, contributing significantly to its projected annual revenue of $4.6 billion.

  3. Focus on AI and User Engagement: Snap is leveraging AI tools, like chatbots and image creation from text prompts, to enhance user engagement and experience, while also using subscriber feedback to refine these features.

What exactly have been done with AI?

In the context of Snapchat Plus, the specific AI-related features and enhancements include:

  1. AI Chatbot: Snap introduced an AI chatbot for Snapchat Plus subscribers, offering a more interactive and personalized user experience.

  2. Image Creation from Text Prompts: Subscribers have access to an AI tool that can create images based on text descriptions. This feature allows users to generate unique and customized visuals directly within the app.

  3. Expansion of Real Photos with AI: The AI technology can also expand existing real images by making assumptions about what else could be in the image. This feature adds creative elements to photos, enhancing them with AI-generated content.


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