When Twitter all of a sudden introduced it was shutting down Vine in 2016, followers instantly began campaigning to convey the beloved short-form video app again. Dom Hofmann, one of many authentic cofounders, has been engaged on doing simply that for years. After a number of stops and starts, his new app Byte lastly launched final week. It already has 1.three million downloads, based on Sensor Tower. It additionally seems to have discovered some classes from Vine’s demise, however that gained’t essentially be sufficient for one more social video app to outlive in 2020.
Vine’s six-second format was a novelty when it got here out in 2012, and the limitation birthed a singular, off-the-wall fashion of comedy. The app incubated a few of the web’s greatest celebrities, together with singer Shawn Mendes, comic Brittany Furlan, and Logan and Jake Paul. But as obituaries for the service noted, it didn’t do sufficient to assist its rising stars and was typically criticized for overlooking creators of color. Many ultimately left for platforms the place they might create longer content material and earn more money, like YouTube and Instagram.
This time round, Hofmann and his group are attempting to do issues in another way. Byte’s tagline is “creativity first,” and the corporate seems to be prioritizing creators from the beginning. There’s a dedicated forum the place they’ll talk about points with each other and Byte workers, making a extra private really feel than bigger platforms. Hofmann instructed TechCrunch he plans to give creators a minimize of earnings, although the precise particulars on how this system will work haven’t been launched. Byte didn’t reply to a request for remark from WIRED.
Quite a bit has modified since Vine died. Instagram Stories exploded in reputation, and TikTook has entered the scene. The Chinese-owned app has been downloaded over 1 billion occasions, propelled by a powerful algorithm that makes it simple to lose hours to the app. Like Vine earlier than it, TikTook’s options have given rise to new meme codecs, uber-viral stars, and even Los Angeles mansions full of creators. People may nonetheless miss Vine, however some see the six-second video as a format whose time has principally handed.
“It was so interesting because it was so new and different. They created this whole new type of content that’s been expanded and has evolved,” says James Nord, the CEO of Fohr, an influencer advertising and marketing platform. “I don’t know that nostalgia on the internet is a business plan.”
It’s unclear what a long-term marketing strategy for Byte may appear like. Unlike YouTube and Instagram, the platform is principally a spot for comedy sketches and stunts. That’s not the kind of content material most manufacturers are snug working with creators to provide, says Nord. Brands have a tough time being genuinely humorous, and it’s not precisely simple for a creator to offer an genuine product testimonial in six seconds.
Beyond getting cash, creators might want to work with Byte’s stripped-down design. Unlike TikTook, Byte doesn’t have filters or elaborate in-app modifying instruments, and you’ll’t add music clips to movies. If you’re used to watching TikTook, the shortage of pre-programmed sounds on Byte can appear, properly, quiet. Bytes additionally typically really feel tremendous brief. Brevity is what made Vine distinctive however might restrict the scope of content material on Byte. A couple of seconds might be not lengthy sufficient to movie a cooking or make-up tutorial—two genres which have flourished on TikTook.
Not each creator is dissuaded by these limitations. “We explore every platform to see if it’ll be a right fit for our brand,” says Jacob Pace, the CEO of Flighthouse, a media firm with greater than 22 million followers on TikTook. Byte “might have a space since it’s different (though shorter) than other short-form mobile social media apps.”