The short-form video-sharing social media platform was founded in June 2012 by the three-man team of Dom Hofman, Colin Krol, and Rus Yusupov. Four months later and while the platform was yet to be launched, Twitter bought it at the cost of $30 million. The founders had succeeded in selling the idea to Twitter, that the 6-second-long app was a perfect match to the microblogging site’s short-form text posts, as a visual means for members to capture their most casual moments. Quite surprisingly, after Vine had garnered over 200 million active users in 3 years, Twitter began its shut-down in late 2016. What happened to Vine? Why did Twitter stop the service after spending many resources to acquire and build it to such an enviable height?
Also, roughly a year after the disappointing shut-down of Vine, one of its founders (Dom Hofman) went on air to declare that he was planning to launch a similar service to Vine which he called V2. This has widely been understood to mean a version of Vine – Vine 2. The name V2 was later changed to ‘Byte’ as a result of the legal eyebrows that got raised by the copyright implications of the previous name. At press time, the world is yet to see the launch-out of V2. So, we’ll also be discussing if Byte still holds any prospect of replacing Vine in reality.
What Happened To Vine?
The unique video-hosting cum video-sharing service was shut down by its owner, Twitter Inc. Why did it happen?
Already, insinuations are rife as to why Vine closed shop. But how credible are those insinuations? For instance, one point of view has it that Vine packed up because it could not contain the competition that arose almost as soon as it began to gain traction. First, it was Instagram that came in 2013 and introduced a 15-second video length instead. According to those who favor this viewpoint about competition being the beginning of the end of Vine, Instagram’s 15-second video length had both the advantage of short-form and long-form videos which instantly placed it an edge above Vine.
Another example cited by those who favor this stance is Snapchat that also introduced a short-form video platform. The Snapchat video length was 10 seconds which again dared to present a similar challenge as did Instagram. To further buttress this claim, the proponents of this point of view cite the fact that, many Vine stars crossed over to these competing services. Nonetheless, we think that what happened to Vine is rather beyond the fact that a competition arose against it.
There is no doubt that every business idea will eventually have to confront competition, and there is no doubt that such competitions will eventually present a challenge. Surely, this must have been the kind of situation Vine found itself in. But, could the service just close simply because it had to deal with competition? It seems quite unlikely. After all, Vine already had an advantage of up to 200 million active subscriber base. If Instagram introduced a 15-second video length and that became a favorable point of competitive advantage, couldn’t Twitter just increase the video length of Vine rather than close the service?
It’s rather easier to believe that poor management killed Vine. If Instagram and Snapchat ended up having a competitive advantage over Vine, it is because the management of Twitter or Vine, could not be proactive enough. For instance, when Instagram came on board and introduced a revenue-sharing option with members with huge followership, celebrity subscribers on Vine attempted to get a similar deal with Twitter Inc but failed. Not only did top Vine subscribers move away in droves, two members of Vine’s founding team (Hofman and Kroll) left the admin staff of Vine, obviously out of their frustration with Twitter management. And to make an already bad situation worse, Twitter Inc went ahead to fire the remaining member of the founding team (Yusupov). This shows even more clearly that what happened to Vine has more to do with poor management than just a competition.
Is Vine Really Going To Be Replaced By Vine 2 (V2) Or Byte?
After Hofman announced his plan to launch V2 as an effective replacement for Vine in December 2017, he never got to actualize his plan. Instead, the following year in May, he announced again that the project had been postponed indefinitely as a result of legal and financial difficulties that attended it.
The legal side of the difficulty, of course, came from the fact that Twitter considered a possible launch of V2 a breach on their acquisition agreement with Hofman and his co-founders of Vine. And, in spite of the fact that V2 later rebranded as Byte, the service has failed to see the light of day till now. However, the fact that Twitter was seriously against any infringement on the Vine acquisition agreement gives some flicker of hope that Vine may likely resurrect. Considering that, it is unlikely that any V2, Vine 2 or Byte will ever get to replace Vine.