Could this be Snapchat's next big hit?
Seeking to capitalize on the personalization and engagement of Bitmoji, Snapchat will soon launch a new option called 'Bitmoji TV', which, as reported by TechCrunch, will make the custom Bitmoji avatars of you and your Snap friends the stars of their own full-motion cartoon series.
The cartoons themselves will be mapped out by Snap's team, but your custom Bitmoji characters will appear in each, undertaking various types of adventures and quests, adding a personal touch to the proceedings.
It's the next evolution of Bitmoji Stories, which Snapchat launched back in November 2018. Bitmoji Stories already include some animated elements, but they're mostly still frames, with you and your Snap friends placed into scenes.
The option harks back to the original BitStrips roots of Bitmoji - BitStrips were big on Facebook in around 2014, with people sharing collaborative comics of jokes and scenes that captured their real-world personalities in cartoonish, Bitmoji form.
Given that BitStrips was a hit, it's not difficult to imagine Bitmoji TV also establishing an ardent following, while it may also get more users switching across to Snapchat Discover - where Bitmoji TV will live - where they could stumble across Snap's other Discover originals, generating more engagement in the app.
The performance of its Snap Originals shows on Discover was a high point for Snapchat in 2019. Back in October, Snap reported that more than 100 of its Discover channels are now reaching audiences "in the double-digit millions every month", and with the extra advertising potential attached to such viewing, it's no surprise to see the company looking for ways to drive more viewership of its original programming in 2020.
In this sense, integrating Bitmoji into Discover makes a lot of sense - and while it won't be for everyone (much like Bitmoji itself), it is worth keeping in mind that, back in 2017, Bitmoji was, at one time, the most downloaded app in the US, UK, France, Canada and Australia. Those cartoonish likenesses are very popular, which is, of course, why Snap purchased Bitmoji for $100 million in 2016, and why they're now seeking ways to take Bitmoji to the next stage.
And Snapchat has a solid track record for staying ahead of the curve, and leading the way with new trends. In combination, the arrival of Bitmoji TV could be significant. We'll have to wait and see, of course, but it'll be worth keeping an eye on how the new cartoons are received.
Bitmoji TV is set for launch in February according to reports.