Twitter Unveils Changes To Vine, Enhances Speed And Access

As social and video trends converge, Twitter is determined not to be left out of the resulting revolution.

Among other efforts, the company is rolling out several changes to its Vine unit, which aim to bypass common connectivity and user-friendliness issues.

“Now, when you open Vine, you’ll see that posts show up more quickly, even if you have a slower Internet connection or if you’re offline,” Michel Loenngren, senior iOS Engineer at Vines, explains in a new blog post.

To improve speeds and allow users to view Vines without a Web connection, Vine now initiates the downloading process before the app is technically opened.

“We’ve also implemented network caching and introduced a new, smaller video file size that can be downloaded much faster when someone has a slower Internet connection,” according to Loenngren.

With video clearly on the brain, Twitter just acquired live-streaming app Periscope -- a deal that reportedly set the company back between $50 million to $100 million.

Earlier this month, the microblogging giant rolled out an embedded video widget for publishers. With the widget, publishers can highlight Twitter-hosted video on their sites. The new feature relies on the same JavaScript used to render Tweet buttons and embedded Tweets.

To better team up advertisers with social media influencers, Twitter also recently bought Niche -- a start-up that teams up advertisers with social media influencers, and Vine influencers in particular. Launched in late 2013, Niche started working with Twitter and Vine soon after.

In addition to matching content creators with brands, Niche offers free cross-platform analytics. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports put it at around $30 million.

Long a growth engine for digital advertising, video has become increasingly key to the fortunes of social giants like Facebook and Twitter. Indeed, video will drive Twitter’s advertising business in 2015, according to a recent report from the equity research team at J.P. Morgan.

In 2015, “Twitter … will likely become an increasingly important form of engagement for brands given the ability to communicate with consumers in real-time and now to utilize video more effectively on the platform,” the team at J.P. Morgan predicted.

Despite its promise, Twitter only recently introduced a video platform. Videos can be 30 seconds long and be uploaded, edited and shared directly from Twitter’s flagship platform.

At least on the surface, rivals say they welcome increased competition from Twitter and other video newcomers. At a recent industry event, Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of content, estimated the digital video market to be worth between $200 billion and $400 billion -- more than enough to go around, he said.

While estimating that a more modest $7.7 billion will go to digital video, this year, eMarketer suggested that 2015 is shaping up to be the year that social and video truly converge.

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