It’s perhaps a grimly fitting end to a service famous for six-second videos — Vine, which was founded and subsequently bought out by Twitter in 2012 before a 2013 launch, will likely not make it to 2017. Twitter, amidst ongoing financial struggles and an apparently failed bid to find a buyer for the company, announced the impending shutdown of Vine in a post on Medium yesterday.
While Vine was enormously popular when it first launched, it likely peaked sometime in 2014, and by early 2016 was nearing half the number of users it once had. Its decline had a lot to do with its business model — not only did Twitter not make much money off of Vine (through ad revenue), what money they made wasn’t shared with the creators. That became a problem when Vine ended up coming a platform that launched many young people into internet stardom. Vine stars became household names among teens, but those stars never got much from Twitter directly until recently, and by then, it was too little too late.
But, those Vine stars didn’t go home empty-handed. Many simply reuploaded their Vines to YouTube or moved their acts to YouTube altogether, where they could earn a share of advertising revenue brought in from their videos. The most successful Vine stars ended up making advertising deals with brands — funny enough, 60 Minutes just aired a report on social media influencers this past weekend, in which Vine star Andrew Bachelor talked about how he made $300,000 simply by including the Jimmy Johns logo in his videos.
Vine also proved to be a terrific source of sports highlights — while they were subject to the same copyright claims as videos on any other platform, Vines were so easy to create that trying to take down all copies of all highlights posted turned into a hopeless game of whack-a-mole. It helped that the six-second limit was the perfect amount of a time for a highlight, especially for basketball.
For Vine stars like Bachelor who hadn’t yet abandoned the platform, it’s time to find a new online home — YouTube, in all likelihood. While the Vine website will be kept up as a storehouse for Vines that have already been created, the app will be taken offline sometime in the next few months, which means no new Vines from that point forward. Twitter plans to make more announcements regarding the date the app will shut down and the ultimate fate of the website sometime in the near future.
Yesterday, in their Q3 earnings report, Twitter also announced that the company will lay off nine percent of its staff, which comes out to about 350 people. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did not address buyout rumors directly.