Snapchat is giving users a "fundamentally better experience" than television and young people are replacing old viewing habits with the ephemeral messaging app, the chief executive of AOL said on Thursday.
Speaking at the Viva Technology conference in Paris, Tim Armstrong explained that some of the most interesting start-ups are those able to capture the millennial audience – those born after 1980 and before 2000.
"I think it's very important to watch those companies because they are essentially plugging into how humans are going to behave in the future," Armstrong said.
"If you think about, watching the game experience on Snapchat, or any of the event experience on Snapchat...basically it's a fundamentally better experience than television overall, and I think you have to watch very closely. If you look at data statistics, people around the age of 24 essentially are starting to replace the majority of their viewing with that type of viewing."
Snapchat allows users to send video or picture messages to friends that disappear after being viewed, or create a story - a series of photos and clips - that are deleted after 24 hours. It has become one of the most popular social media apps and generates 10 billion video views a day.
Online media, particularly the rise of mobile, has been eating away at TV's share of ad spend. Next year, total digital ad spend will surpass TV for the first time in the U.S.
Snapchat - which is currently raising funding and could be valued over $20 billion, according to some reports - has been attracting advertisers and publishers to its platform. It recently revamped its app, adding new features, and brought out a slew of advertising products. These include ads between stories that people are viewing as well as tools to allow advertisers to check the performance of their content.