Twitter chops Vine: Video battle lost to Snap and Instagram

28 Oct 2016

Twitter had a cult hit on its hands with Vine, but wasted the opportunity. Image: Alextype/Shutterstock

In 2013, Twitter had a moment of brilliance when it launched instant video platform Vine. Sadly for Twitter, its attention drifted and the advantage was ceded to Instagram and Snap. Now Vine is to be cut down from the Twitter tree.

Twitter said that it will be discontinuing the mobile app in the coming months.

“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.”

Twitter said that it will notify creators through the app when it is likely to start changing things.

Twitter could not see Vine for the trees

Like most internet and media companies who get too close to the woods to see the trees, Twitter’s attention was distracted by a range of other problems and opportunities, from IPOs to CEO changes. It failed to see the promise of Vine, which created a new genre in short, instant video content.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey proclaimed the launch of Vine brought “an entirely new art form to the world”.

Now, almost four years after acquiring Vine, Twitter is to cull the video platform.

Bordering on the Vine: how not to squander a cult hit

The decline of Vine is being attributed to neglect on Twitter’s part, as swifter players like Snap Inc and Instagram entered the short video fray.

The product was never properly integrated into Twitter and there were few updates.

“Don’t sell your company!” Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov tweeted forlornly yesterday.

Yusupov, along with co-founders Dom Hofmann and Colin Kroll, sold Vine to Twitter in 2013 for a reported $30m. He was laid off by Twitter last year.

Vine, in its first two years, created a new generation of video stars who are now just as potent on platforms like the Snapchat app and Instagram.

Twitter had a cult hit on its hands but ceded the advantage to the new kings of social media.

The news of the culling of Vine comes just hours after Twitter revealed it is cutting 9pc of its workforce, or 350 people, in a move to achieve greater profitability.

Vine peaked in 2014 when close to 4pc of all Android users in the US were using it to record quick, looped, six-second videos.

The episode could be seen as a salutary lesson in how not to squander a potential hit on your hands.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years