UMW students mourn the loss of Vine as Twitter experiences financial crunch
By ANDREW ARENAS
On Oct. 27 of 2016, Twitter announced that it would shut down Vine, a video sharing service they established in 2012. The company stated that its website will be available to view and download Vines, but users will not have the ability to post any vines “in the coming months.”
The announcement came shortly after Twitter let go nine percent of its employees. The company is focusing on cutting down costs and rethinking its priorities. They have also been shopping for a buyer. Companies like Salesforce and Disney are on the table because they have been eyeing Twitter as a product to purchase. For a long time, Twitter has faced heavy criticism for having a very shaky business model. Advertisers have found doing business with Twitter more difficult than with Facebook and Snapchat.
Shortly after the announcement, millions of Twitter users shared their favorite Vine posts with the hashtag #RIPVine. There was an intense rush of nostalgia as many reflected what the platform meant to them after hearing this announcement. With a user base of more than two hundred million users, many questioned why Vine had to be shut down.
The main issue is that Vine’s popularity was not able to be monetized at an acceptable rate. Google, for instance, has an ad-free subscription service with YouTube Red, which migrates profits lost, due to ad-blocking. On YouTube, people are already unsatisfied with watching a 30 second ad to view a 15 second video, so no one would be satisfied with sitting through an ad that is double or triple the length for a Vine post.
Back when Vine launched in 2012, the app was very novel in its time, when social media apps lacked video components. A couple of years later, Instagram and Twitter added video to their own proprietary video applications. They allowed users to post videos that are longer and more substantial than posts for Vine.
An issue that many Vine content creators faced was a lack of in-depth audience analytics. Other video sharing platforms provided clear audience statistics ranging from age, gender and the countries in which the posts were viewed.
However, TechCrunch reported that Vine might be saved after all, by selling it. At this time the list of companies bidding is unknown according to TechCrunch, but there are bids coming from Asia. With the bids only ranging from around $10 million, there is a low chance Twitter will gain any revenue from selling Vine. The company has kept quiet about Vine’s future, since the initial announcement.
Keeping Vine alive could cost millions to have the platform run daily. Twitter would need to be cautious about who they sell it to, in order to make this a good business deal. Selling it at a low price would show desperation on the part of Vine and could possibly turn Vine into a direct competitor to Twitter.