Earlier this week, Twitter announced the launch of a new video sharing service for iOS devices called Vine. Vine allows users to record and share short video clips (6 second maximum) from a mobile device on Twitter. The app is free, and loops videos in a way similar to animated GIFs.
mixing gnarly basslines today vine.co/v/b55LOA1dgJU
— The Glitch Mob (@theglitchmob) January 23, 2013
While this new feature looks slick, it is not a game changer in anyway. There have been several high-profile startups that described themselves as the “Instagram for video” that have considerable funding, market share, and powerful userbase that Vine will have to compete with. The elephants in the room are Youtube and Facebook, which have featured mobile video support in all of their versions and across multiple device platforms.
We think that Vine suffers from several other drawbacks as well:
- Time Constraint – According to Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann, “Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger…They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life.” The success of Twitter proves that brevity and consolidation can make text posts go a long way, but it’s MUCH harder to translate to video. Video-worthy moments in this day-and-age often last much longer than the 6 second limit of Vine, and as the person behind the camera (instead of crafting the tweet), you might not have the time to get as creative with editing. Video-worthy moments may be missed by using Vine when they can be captured with other tools.
- Limited Launch – Currently, the app is only available to iOS users, leaving Android owners in the cold. According to a recent report from Comscore, Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 53.7 percent market share in the last quarter of 2012 (up 1.1 percentage points from the previous quarter). Shutting out that large of a potential user base at launch is a mistake that no brand should make.
- Squabble with Facebook – Immediately after launching, Facebook disabled the “find your friends” functionality of Vine. Weither this means that Facebook is developing their own branded app, or if they are just getting revenge for when Twitter made a similar API-block on Instagram is yet to be determined. In the grand scheme of things, when you can’t get into the biggest club on the block, you’re losing a key user acquisition strategy.
- Artistic Niche Appeal – One of the biggest contention points of Instagram was the reasoning that it could make any photo appear “artistic” with the use of it’s filters and editing tools. Vine gets a little more complicated (i.e. no filters), which means that a casual user base will have to learn a whole new set of in-camera editing skills in order to make the short films that Vine expects to come from it. In the end, important moments will still be reserved for Youtube and Facebook; art projects and stop-motion films will find a comfortable home on Vine.
The verdict from us is that Vine will find a user base, but Twitter’s long term strategy of becoming a “walled garden” of content will still have to rely on long-form video to be competitive. What do you think of Vine? Let us know in the comments!