The One Reason Vine Isn't as Great as it Could Be
I don't own a television. I never have and probably never will. I do all of my watching on a mobile device, laptop or desktop computer.
While millions in America turn on their widescreen TVs at 9 each night, I open my iPhone, click Vine, and consume brilliant, six-second masterpieces created by Internet superstars that didn't exist 12 months ago.
Twitter's video-sharing application, which launched in January, limits its 40 million-plus registered users to producing clips of six seconds--forcing them to make every second count in hopes of captivating viewers.
And for 60 minutes each night I am captivated, watching hilarious looping videos in much the same way others catch an episode of "Community" or "The Blacklist"--except that my remote has fewer buttons: scroll up and down, like, comment, revine and follow.
It's the truest sense of Social TV.
But there is one thing holding Vine back from true greatness: I can't watch clips at work.
Vine lacks a YouTube-like desktop client seamlessly offering the power of video discoverability to those not on a mobile device. And desktops (PCs, iMacs, docked laptops or otherwise) are where many of us still access the Internet on a daily basis.
Don't get me wrong ...
o I can whip out my phone during the 9-to-5 and watch Vines like it's 6-to-8 (I drive an hour each way), but who surfs the Internet on a mobile device when a two-screen computer sits idly nearby?
o I could technically wait for people to tweet links to compelling Vines, but why would the service not give me what I want when I want it?
o With the release of Web profiles, Vine will soon allow users to consume posts by hopping from profile to profile. But what if I have yet to discover who is creating must-see clips?
Even as many in media wax poetic about the demise of the desktop, the PC market may be seeing a moderate decrease rather than a steep drop. That same market beat expectations in the third quarter, according to International Data. For those who continue to see value in a desktop device over a tablet for real work, the computer isn't flatlining anytime soon.
YouTube is expected to generate $5.6 billion in gross revenue in 2013, according to eMarketer. Even after Google's video-sharing service pays back advertising partners and content creators, YouTube is projected to net $1.96 billion in ad revenues worldwide--65.5 percent more than last year.
Of the little over 7 billion people on earth, more than 1 billion visit YouTube each month. At last count, more than 50 percent of those views are not made on a tablet or mobile device.
There's power in the desktop device; video is power; Vine has video. Now is the time to tie them together.
Vine compilations on YouTube generate millions of views, illustrating a tremendous appetite for content that is currently getting lost--along with its potential profit. The video is being created; Twitter just needs the client.
As Instagram slowly unleashes in-stream ads to a user base that has been reluctant to accept them, Vine could catapult over such revenue trickling and blow its monetization doors wide open with a desktop client.
(The specific ways Twitter could generate revenue with such a client is outside the scope of this piece, but monetizing the social Web is far harder on mobile devices than it is on stationary screens.)
Nicholas Megalis, Vine's first user to hit 1 million likes on a single post, told me earlier this year, "There are a lot of people on Vine doing incredible things."
It's time to share those incredible things with everyone on the Internet.