Spotlight, Snapchat’s answer to TikTok, hopes to democratise earnings in India too

Written by Shruti Dhapola
| Ahmedaba/new Delhi, New Delhi |

Updated: March 16, 2021 2:30:19 pm

Snap Inc’s Spotlight, the company’s answer to short video platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels, is now available in India. Spotlight is available within the Snapchat app and is an entertainment platform, which contains user-generated content. Snap claims that Spotlight has had over 100 million users in January.

Spotlight lets users post their most interesting and funny Snaps or short videos on the platform and these can then be viewed by other users on the platform. On Snapchat, there is no public place as such where everyone can view content created by a user, unless one is an influencer with millions of followers. Spotlight changes this approach a bit.

The other unique aspect about Spotlight is that Snap will pay creators whose content goes viral on the platform. It has a $1 million a day programme, which will also be made available in India. However, Snapchat users must be 16 or older, and where applicable, obtain parental consent to earn in order to be eligible for earnings.

“For users of Snapchat, unless they already had millions of followers or subscribers, getting views on the platform was next to impossible. The end result was that users would create the content using Snapchat’s camera tools, but post it somewhere else such as platforms like TikTok (till it was available in India), and even YouTube as well as rival Facebook,” a Snap Inc spokesperson explained to over a call.

The spokesperson added that with Spotlight the company wants to “democratise the ability to earn in the same way they democratise the ability to get distribution.” The idea is that someone with just 10 followers could have a video, which is seen by millions of people and also earn money as a result of those views.

What differentiates Spotlight from TikTok or Instagram Reels is that there are no public comments. Any messages that users might send to creators of viral content won’t go into their regular inbox. Snap says this is done to protect users and ensure they don’t face harassment on the platform. Further, the lack of comments also means that creators will be spared from bullying or any other kind of harassment, which has become all too common on many platforms.

Snap’s spokesperson also said that the idea is not just to pipe content from US to India and other countries, but also encourage local creators to post on the platform and build their own identity. While the company will work on more partnerships in India, it also plans to explain the feature to users first so that they understand the platform and know-how to use it.

Profiles on Spotlight will be private by default, which ensures that the username never goes through with that post, unless a user explicitly opts in for a public profile. Once a user goes for a public profile, they can start to gain a following as well.

“This ability to contribute without your username being shown is so important because it takes people that otherwise would never have contributed and gives them a space where they feel incredibly safe to create without worrying,” the spokesperson added.

For content to get money from Snap, it has to be original. The spokesperson specified that one cannot just go to YouTube and copy some video off and re-upload it to Spotlight and then start to earn money. When a user’s video on Spotlight reaches a certain threshold where it is eligible for payment, they will get a message from Team Snapchat for payment.

Snap also says that every single piece of content that is posted to Spotlight is seen and moderated by both a human and a machine, before it is shown to a large number of people. The human moderators have to make sure that the content abides by Snap’s guidelines and also by the local rules and regulations.

Along with India, Spotlight is now rolling out in Mexico and Brazil too. It has launched in 11 countries previously which are US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France.

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