Commentary

Vine's Time Has Come -- And Gone

What the Vine?!

Twitter on Thursday said it plans to discontinue the pioneering app “in the coming months.”

After its debut in 2013, Vine changed the way millions of users experienced media. Short, snappy, and mobile-friendly, many of the video clips shared on Vine were irresistible.

More recently, Vine has been an afterthought for many young Snapchat-obsessed users. In turn, top “Viners” have taken their talents elsewhere -- but not before demanding that Twitter compensate them for the work.

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This year, meanwhile, Madison Avenue sort of forget about the app, as Tina Yip, a strategist at Big Spaceship, recently noted in MediaPost.

Yet, the news on Thursday is still startling because of the enormous popularity of video apps in general, and Vine’s still-respectable market share.

Just last month, in fact, research conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Microsoft found that 31% of U.S. teens still use Vine -- far less than the 91% who use YouTube, but not far behind the 40% who use Twitter, and more than the 24% who use Tumblr.

What’s more, as Yip at Big Spaceship tells it, there are (were?) still tons of great opportunities for brands on Vine.

Melissa Parrish, an analyst at Forrester Research, said the move makes sense in the context of Twitter’s broader video ambitions.

“Shutting it down will be a bummer for its loyal users, but it makes sense to take those developers and deploy them on the live video offerings Twitter and its advertisers as excited about,” Parrish said on Thursday.

Like Twitter itself, the content limits that once made Vine attractive to users became a drag on creativity, over time. This summer, Twitter discussed plans to expand Vine’s clip limits beyond six seconds -- but now that seems too late.

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