Twitter yesterday announced the closure of its looping video platform, Vine, along with a 9% cut in its workforce – equating to 350 redundancies – as it seeks to deliver profitability in 2017.
The announcement came in the form of a tweet on the Vine Twitter channel; a brief statement explains that “we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app… but 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.” It goes on to thank “all the creators out there” as well as all the punters who turned up every day “to watch and laugh”… in droves.
The most popular Viner, King Bach, has amassed a following of over 16 million; many others, spurred on by the creative challenge of looping stop motion also garnered followers in the millions, outstripping celebs like Justin Bieber who were fundamentally there… just because.
Creating great Vines rapidly became an art form – with the most complex and impressive loops taking what must have been hours, if not days, to set up. An early favourite was Zach King (below), whose Vines left many people wondering how on earth he did it: check out this YouTube compilation.
Despite rapid growth – the platform hit 40 million registered users only eight months after its launch – Vine was not a commercial success. Twitter had purchased Vine for $30 million; brands jumped in, but without an ad offering, they were fundamentally using the channel in an editorial capacity. Those who benefited financially were the Viners themselves; Unilever famously enlisted Zach King’s services to create some truly amazing loops for its US recycling drive.
The honeymoon didn’t last: as Facebook and Twitter began to offer native video – coupled of course with bullseye targeting options – brands began to desert Vine, with only thirteen of forty major brands who had initially adopted the channel still using it in Q3, 2015 (source: AdWeek.com).
Still, it was lovely while it lasted. Vine gave birth to a new generation of do-it-at home creative directors whose loops still have the power to wow. Let’s hope the website doesn’t disappear any time soon.