Hours after Twitter’s latest earnings results, news keeps coming from the company. On Thursday, it announced that it will be discontinuing Vine, but that the closure of its app will take place in “the coming months.” No specific reason for the shuttering was given; however, the announcement said that the Twitter-owned company will do right by creators and let people download their videos.
When acquired in 2012, Vine played a pivotal part in Twitter’s foray into video. Its service enabled people to create quick 6-second clips and spurred a growing number of creators a la YouTube stars. Since then, many features have been added, including web embed support and the release of Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows Phone apps (it previously was only on iOS); direct video messages were also added in 2014 before making the service available on TV.
Users also started seeing new tools such as loop counts, a way to import and edit videos, push notifications, 720p high-definition video support, ability to remix sound and music into vines, and much more.
All of these capabilities were added to what was the video darling of Twitter. But some had suggested that following Periscope’s acquisition and Twitter’s strategic look towards video, Vine went overlooked and resources diverted elsewhere. Competition in the space was surely fierce, and it seemed that Vine always remained second to Instagram for people’s attention, and now Snapchat is where the millennials are flocking to.
As Twitter seeks to right itself and it devotes time and money to Periscope, is longer-form content such as video broadcasts the way to success? Has the time for short-form digestible videos on Twitter come and gone? The impact of Vine’s closure will certainly reverberate among its creators, so Twitter has its work cut out for it in reassuring the community that Periscope is worth the investment. If Vine gets taken down now, what’s to stop the same thing from happening with Periscope — or even Twitter, for that matter?
Some have posited that Vine had been difficult to monetize — which is true, because you never saw any advertisements or premium subscription plans roll out for the service. Twitter did initiate the start of what may have been a revenue-generating option when it allowed a small group of creators to incorporate longer videos into their vines, similar to pre-roll trailers or ads. But getting that to actual production never materialized.
The company explained that over time, it will be working closely with creators to answer their questions while also sharing more details on its Medium blog and on Twitter.
Vine’s cofounder Rus Yusupov had an interesting tweet following the news:
Don’t sell your company!
— Rus (@rus) October 27, 2016