What happened to Vine?

Vine was an American video social networking platform with a focus on looping video clips of six seconds in length, founded by Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll in 2012 to help people capture casual moments in their lives and share them with their friends. Vine went on to become a massively popular platform. Yet by 2016, Twitter discontinued the mobile app while allowing users to view or download content on the Vine website. It then announced a reconfigured app allowing creators to share content to a connected Twitter account only. This marked the end of Vine.

Background

Vine was an American video social networking platform with a focus on looping video clips of six seconds in length.

The platform was founded by Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll in 2012 who had the vision to help people capture casual moments in their lives and share them with their friends.

Hofmann, Yusupov, and Kroll pitched the idea for Vine to Twitter because they believed the short-form vlogging service would complement Twitter’s short-form microblogging platform. Twitter then acquired Vine for $30 million before the app was even launched.

Vine went on to become a massively popular platform, attracting 200 million users in the first two years including countless celebrities. Just four years after it was founded, Twitter discontinued the mobile app while allowing users to view or download content on the Vine website. It then announced a reconfigured app allowing creators to share content to a connected Twitter account only.

The original app was then renamed Vine Camera but faded into obscurity after suffering poor reviews and usage.

The reason for Vine’s demise is due to multiple factors. Let’s take a look at them now.

Growing competition

In the words of a former Vine executive, ”Instagram video was the beginning of the end.

When Instagram launched its video feature in 2013, users could create and share short-form videos of a maximum duration of fifteen seconds. 

This caused a mass migration of users from Vine to Instagram for nothing else but increased video length.

Failure to understand the market

As noted earlier, Vine was initially conceived as a microvlogging platform where users could share short videos with their friends.

After the platform was launched, it became clear that Vine was in fact an entertainment media platform. It was predominantly comprised of passive viewers who preferred to consume content in a similar vein to platforms such as YouTube. 

This left the job of content creation to a very small percentage of users who would compromise the integrity of the whole platform if they decided to leave. 

Unfortunately, Vine gave content creators two reasons to leave the platform and take their followers with them. First, it stubbornly adhered to a maximum video length of six seconds which was too short for a so-called microvlogging service. Second, Vine did not allow creators to monetize their sometimes large audiences.

Platform monetization

Monetization issues were not restricted to creators. Vine as a business was not making any money either. 

Executives were reluctant to experiment with potential monetization methods during rapid growth periods. Funds that were flowing into the Vine ecosystem were mostly sponsorship deals for the very top content creators – there was no attempt to sponsor the platform itself.

Twitter made a belated attempt to monetize Vine by purchasing a social media talent agency, but the agency could not incentivize clients to remain on Vine in the face of better monetization on other platforms.

Parent company strategic direction

Twitter acquired Vine before it was launched to use the platform to grow its own brand and business. Ultimately, Vine as a standalone brand was not a priority of Twitter shareholders.

This was exemplified when Twitter launched its own video creation feature, thereby invalidating the need for Vine entirely.

Key takeaways:

  • Vine was a microvlogging platform founded in 2012. It quickly rose to prominence after acquiring 200 million users in the first two years of operation.
  • Four years later, the service was progressively discontinued by Twitter. Competition from Instagram was one of the primary reasons for Vine’s demise because it offered longer video length for creators.
  • Vine’s popularity was also unsustainable because of the high proportion of passive viewers when compared to content creators. Many such creators migrated to other platforms and took their audiences with them because of a lack of monetization functionality.

What if it survived?

By the 2020s, the short video format empowered by

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Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"