Twitter broke millions of hearts earlier in 2016 when it announced it was shutting down its Vine platform. The stagnant app had been hemorrhaging users and was too costly to keep running. Following an online outcry and an outpouring of love, it seems Twitter decided to save the video-looping service — albeit in a new form that could prove more cost-efficient.
On Friday, Vine announced that starting in January, its app will be transitioning into a pared-down Vine Camera that will boast even more integration with Twitter. Essentially, the app is removing Vine’s social sharing functionality. Instead of sharing your videos to the Vine network, you will have the option to either post them directly to Twitter or save them to your phone.
Vine claims that when the update is enforced in January, videos shared on Twitter (whether directly from the Vine Camera or from your phone’s library) that are under 6.5 seconds will loop automatically.
Bearing in mind that Vine’s servers, staff, and general upkeep costs were reportedly setting its parent company back $10 million per month, the move comes across as a compromise on Twitter’s part.
At this stage, it’s also unclear whether Twitter still plans to sell the platform (reports emerged in November claiming Twitter had several takeover bids on the table). Perhaps Twitter is still keen to see if it can gain some leverage from the app — after all, it was reportedly only receiving offers in the range of $10 million.
Vine also wants to help you find an audience for your creations on Twitter. To this end, it is introducing a new “follow on Twitter” notification. The pop-up will prompt Vine users to follow their favorite creators on its parent company’s flagship social platform. Vine claims it will notify users through the app when this feature is available. Considering Twitter already offers Vine integration — through the Vine profile URL feature, and auto-play for Vines on the Twitter timeline — the new option is another way to get Vine users to utilize its main platform.
Overall, Friday’s announcement ties into Twitter’s overarching video strategy, which has seen it introduce user-generated and third-party live video to its service. Tapping its remaining Vine creators to continue creating content could see the short-form video format live on through its service — diversifying its video lineup in the process. The only problem is that Vine’s biggest creators (such as Logan Paul, King Bach, Lele Pons, and Zach King) have already moved on to another platform, some of which (YouTube Red and Facebook Live, for example) are doling out cash for their services. The reason they ditched Vine in the first place was due to Twitter’s alleged refusal to grant them more revenue-sharing solutions, so it seems unlikely they will return to the app in the near future.
Finally, Vine also announced you can now download your existing clips from its iOS and Android apps, and the web. Additionally, you can request to have an email link containing all your Vines sent to you — this option will include anfile that contains your Vine captions, along with the number of likes, comments, and re-Vines. You can find out more via the Vine FAQ page.