Vice Media to Release Chinese Bitcoin Story on Snapchat

Vice Media Inc. will release a report filmed inside a Chinese bitcoin “mine” on Snapchat Inc., the ephemeral-messaging app that has blossomed into a destination for news and entertainment.

Vice, the online news group based in New York, sent a team of reporters to northeast China, where the bitcoin industry has grown at a rapid clip. Their team interviewed workers in a computer room where the virtual currency is created.

The footage will be viewable on Snapchat for 24 hours before disappearing and moving to other platforms, such as Google Inc.’s YouTube. Vice chose to release the video through the Los Angeles-based message service because of the reception to its initial postings on the app, which have included stories about party robots and sloths that cure cancers.

“It’s a relatively new audience, and a different audience from what we have on other platforms,” Derek Mead, the editor-in-chief of Vice’s Motherboard channel, said in an interview.

Mead said filming a story based on 24 hours in a computer room was a challenge for Motherboard, an online newsmagazine that covers the intersection of technology and culture. The story focused on the human element, the people who spend the day there, he said.

Vice is one of Snapchat’s 11 initial partners in Discover, a new feature showcasing videos, stories and images from outlets ranging from Comedy Central to Cosmopolitan. Executives from several of those partners have raved about the viewership figures and engagement thus far, without providing specifics.

Jill Hazelbaker, a Snapchat spokeswoman, declined to comment.

“We’re super happy with how that content seems to be striking a chord,” Drake Martinet, head of platform at Vice News, said in an interview. “We thought there’d be some overlap; Vice is the leading Generation-Y media brand, and Snapchat, some of it, is a Gen-Y platform.”

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