Twitter announced that they would be shutting down video sharing site Vine. The reason cited was due to cost-cutting measures. Twitter had already laid off hundreds of workers in late October and is expected to layoff 300 more employees worldwide. Financially, Vine has not brought in enough revenue for the Twitter, even as it struggles to create a viable revenue stream of its own.
Vine, on its Own
Vine was bought by Twitter in 2012, the year before it was launched. It was supposed to be the video equivalent of Twitter with its short 6-second looping format. Although it was meant to be integrated with Twitter, Vine videos had a life of their own and were popular without being shared on the micro-blogging site. Vine videos are called vines, and although they are typically only 6 seconds long, these were looping videos which were funny or irreverent but highly entertaining.
Since 2013, there have been a lot of excellent video materials on Vine. 2016 Presidential candidate Donald Trump had several noteworthy vines which were dredged up by some people to prove a point against him. There were several Trump statements which were proven wrong by these vines recorded in 2013.
Although only 6-second in length, several Vine creators got their break and became mainstream. Singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes got more exposure through his vines. The same was true of make-up artist Jesse Smiles. Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande have their very popular Vine accounts.
In 3 years of Vine, there have been several success stories which used Vine as a jumping off point towards a mainstream presence. Husband and wife duo, Us the Duo, were signed up after gathering a large following and exposure on Vine. Vine personality Cole LeBrant was invited to join The Amazing Race partly due to his funny vines and large followers. Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier create funny vines, and this has led them to roles in a feature-length movie. Another vine personality who has made the switch to mainstream is Brittany Furlan, who was offered to star in a comedy TV show.
Video Sharing on Twitter
One reason why Twitter bought Vine was due to their need for their video sharing site. Also, Vine seemed at the time to be an idea whose time has come. Also, short videos looked like they were in line with Twitter’s short 140-character message limit. It was like saying that the attention span of those who liked Twitter would translate to the same attention span of those who like vines.
It has always been possible to share videos on Twitter. Adding a link to the tweet allowed anyone to redirect to the video. Having your video site meant that the user did not have to go out of the property. Vine itself has been in line with Twitter’s irreverence. It has become the video version of an emoji.
For those who still don’t understand what the fuss about Vine is about, you have to check out some of the videos. While most are inane or slapstick, there is a lot of work put into each 6-second clip. Compressing a thought into a vine is almost as hard as putting context within a 140-character message.
Periscope for live streaming
Periscope is a live streaming application which was bought by Twitter in 2015. The difference between Periscope and Vine is that the videos are in real time. These are shared on the app and can also be accessed on a browser.
The appeal of Periscope is in the immediacy of the videos. Viewers can interact in real time on Twitter. Like Twitter right now, the pulse of media and trends can also be gauged by the videos. It is to be expected that live streaming of events would be very useful. However, for some instances, it might not totally work. Watching the series finale, for instance, or the World Series would be fleeting moments better captured in a YouTube video.
The broadcast could also be saved to the mobile device and can be shared on both Periscope and any other video sharing site. So far, this may have a better value for monetization, for both Twitter and the Periscope account. There are any number of reasons why people would want to follow Periscope accounts. It is also easy to see that some Vine accounts would do well with Periscope, although vines with cuts and edits would not be the same on Periscope.
Making money for Twitter
The gist of the issue is that Twitter has not made as much profit as Facebook. Even with more than a billion accounts, there are only 300 million to 320 million active accounts which post at least once a month. News media, as well as TV shows and sporting events, tweet heavily, and it seems that Twitter was made for these as a message broadcasting service.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter has not made it easy for their accounts to monetize. They have also not made enough headway into being a money machine. They have a captive market with high demand, but they have plateaued regarding the growth in active users. Events, news, and trends still account for the trending topics which in turn has led to growth in some tweets. However, it has been a while since it has grown in double digit percentages.
The search for the next big video sharing app
The video is the next social media platform arena. Facebook has already laid down its plans for video. Google has YouTube, and they are working on other social media channels for video. For Twitter to get out of their revenue position, they have to create a new revenue stream via a video sharing app. They have closed out on Vine and are betting on Periscope. Periscope seems to be a better choice. However, time will tell if Twitter can make Periscope a money making endeavor.