While many have been quietly chuckling at the thought that Snapchat turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook, only to see WhatsApp acquired for $19 billion, the game is certainly not over yet. And what makes the difference with a product like Snapchat is that, even to this day, it has a very distinct product offering, continuing growth and a number of potential business models. Another thing it’ll need is smart product people. And today its team just got bigger with the confirmation to TechCrunch that it has lured one of the industry’s smartest brains.
Nick Bell, Senior Vice President for Digital Product at News Corp, has confirmed to us that he is joining Snapchat in a new role. A spokesperson told us: “We are excited to have him join the team. We are not providing any additional details at this time.” The move comes after Bell has been largely piloting News Corp’s smartest moves in digital for the last four years.
Born in the North East of England, Nick started young, launching and selling a succession of early .com businesses, until joining News Corp. in his early 20s.
While at News Corp’s newspaper operation in London, Bell stunned observers by dropping its rigid online paywall for big events in order to boost subscribers.
After moving to News Corp’s New York office, Bell has even — unusually for media companies — been acquiring startups.
As for Snapchat, as Peer Index Founder Azeem Azhar recently expounded, it has plenty of directions to go in.
These models could, potentially, include branded stickers (Coca-Cola might sponsor Coke-themed Santa hats around Christmas); targeted advertising either with a Snapchat social network or via a mash-up with others; premium Snapchat features; and finally games and virtual goods. Or all of the above.
It’s not yet clear where Bell and his new colleagues will take the company, but it is certainly going to be interesting to watch.