Twitter shuts down Vine and reveals plans for wider layoffs


Twitter had some bad news for fans of its looping-videos platform Vine yesterday: it’s shutting down.

“In the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app,” explained Vine in a blog post. “Nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today. We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way.”

That means keeping the Vine website (and all its content) online for now, while enabling people to download their Vine videos in advance of any change to that policy.

Although the news came as a shock, early analysis suggests it’s less of a surprise: if there was a successful business model with Vine, it was likely around the kind of branded content that’s gravitated towards Snapchat and Instagram instead.

Add in Vine’s copyright headaches for Twitter – think user-uploaded sports highlights – and a company strategy that’s focusing much more on live Periscope streams, and the shutdown isn’t so hard to understand.

It’s still a sad moment: for a time, Vine was a genuinely exciting new media format, and one that spawned a few musicians that have gone on to wider success (e.g. Shawn Mendes).

Vine’s shutdown may have made the most headlines overnight, but Twitter also announced its latest quarterly financial results yesterday. The social network has confirmed that it will cut 9% of its staff – around 350 people – as it seeks to cut costs and sharpen its business focus.

“We’re getting more disciplined about how we invest in the business, and we set a company goal of driving toward GAAP profitability in 2017,” claimed CFO Anthony Noto. An ambitious goal, given that in the first nine months of 2016, Twitter’s net losses totalled just under $290m.

Still, Twitter’s Q3 results actually beat analyst expectations: revenues up 8% year-on-year to $616m, and a net loss of $103m. Twitter’s average monthly active users (MAUs) were up 3% year-on-year to 317m, which is at least some growth if sluggish – even with nearly five times the users, Facebook reported 15% YoY growth in its last financials.

Twitter’s letter to shareholders is worth a read for its overview of the company’s strategy: livestreaming video remains a priority, with hints at plans to do more with topic-based feeds – music could well be one area for the latter.

Stuart Dredge

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