Twitter chops Vine to focus on live streaming

After reporting additional dismal revenue numbers, the company laid off 350 staffers and gave the boot to its six-second video loop platform.

"Vine, Twitter" by Esther Vargas via (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Internet users hopeful of becoming Vine stars got a tough wakeup call.

On Thursday, Twitter announced that it was shutting down its six-second video loop platform and mobile app.

As rumored earlier this week, Twitter also cut 9 percent of its workforce (roughly 350 employees). The moves are meant to “redirect its focus from driving growth to delivering profits,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

The announcement came in light of Twitter’s report of revenue rising only 8.2 percent, a steep decline from more than 50 percent growth during the same quarter last year.

Twitter and Vine broke the news in a Medium post:

Since 2013, millions of people have turned to Vine to laugh at loops and see creativity unfold. Today, we are sharing the news that in the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app.

Nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today . We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way. You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made. You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website.

Thank you. Thank you. To all the creators out there — thank you for taking a chance on this app back in the day. To the many team members over the years who made this what it was — thank you for your contributions. And of course, thank you to all of those who came to watch and laugh every day.

What’s next? We’ll be working closely with creators to make sure your questions are answered and will work hard to do this the right way. We’ll be sharing more details on this blog and our Twitter account, and will notify you through the app when we start to change things.

Vine also shared the announcement on Twitter:

Though you can continue to watch and download already created content, users can create no new Vines. Twitter said it will notify users and share additional information when further changes to the platform take effect.

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Vine and Twitter users expressed their frustration in tweets and in comments on Vine’s Medium post. Vine’s founder, Rus Yusupov—who sold the platform to Twitter for $30 million in 2012—joined in with this short tweet:

Twitter’s struggle with video and user growth

Though some might quibble with Twitter’s decision to uproot Vine, the platform is reportedly still focusing on video and live streaming.

Forbes reported that although the platform was once popular, user growth and use have dwindled:

Vine at one point had 100 million monthly active users. But plummeting interest from users and creators, many of whom expressed frustration over the app’s failure to evolve as a product, has reportedly reduced the app’s user base to just tens of millions of users.

Vine also didn’t keep thriving as competitors moved in.

The BBC reported:

“Twitter was all about setting a constraint on communication – 140 characters – and with Vine it tried to do the same to video,” said Ian Fogg, an analyst at the tech consultancy IHS Markit.

“The problem is that Vine didn’t keep pace with the innovation from Snapchat, Facebook and other players in the market.”

Engadget reported:

… [Vine] was losing valuable market share to Instagram and Snapchat. Not only do they both allow for longer clips (Instagram allows up to 60 seconds while Snapchat’s restriction is 10) but there’s also a lot less pressure to be funny or original. Vine was a fun place to be creative and quirky, sure, but most people just want to take goofy videos of their cat. Furthermore, the stars that did emerge on Vine quickly discovered that there weren’t a lot of monetization opportunities there and eventually fled to other platforms.

Twitter executives are banking that its live-streaming story won’t have the same ending.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

More than bringing in new ad-revenue opportunities, Twitter executives hope its live-streaming content will help broaden its user base to mainstream users—namely, those who haven’t understood the purpose of Twitter—and increase engagement on the platform as people tweet about the games and shows being broadcast.

What do you think about Twitter’s decision to shut down Vine, Ragan readers?


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