Twitter shuts down Vine, cuts 9% of staff

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey

Twitter announced it is shutting down its short-form video app Vine, at the same time as it said it would cut 9% of the company’s total staff in a cost-cutting move.

In a statement, Vine said that it will be discontinuing the mobile app in the coming months, but added that users will still be able to access and download their videos in the meantime.

“We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made.

“You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website,” said Vine, stressing that it will “work hard to do this the right way”.

The news came as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on the company’s third quarter earnings call that the social network would “reduce the size of our organisation by 9%, mostly concentrated in sales, partnerships, and marketing.”

Also speaking on the call, chief financial officer Anthony Noto said that Twitter is “focused on driving towards GAAP profitability in 2017” and is “cutting costs that are non-core to our key objectives of driving audience engagement and monetisation growth.”

On the video front, Twitter is focusing instead on live streaming – both through its Periscope service and via premium deals with partners like the NFL, which agreed to broadcast NFL Thursday Night Football games on network.

In its quarterly letter to investors, Twitter said that it has signed more than a dozen live streaming video partnerships since June and has seen consistent live NFL audience grow, with the most recent three games reaching more than three million viewers – up more than 28% from Twitter’s inaugural game.

It also said that Bloomberg Politics’ presidential debates were “very successful”, with the second and third debates averaged a reach of 3.3 million unique viewers, an increase of more than 30% over the first presidential debate.

“Our live-streaming video experience is unique in that it pairs a live-streaming video together with the vibrant live conversation happening on Twitter,” said the company, predicting it will add “more syndication partners in the coming months”.

“People come for the high quality video content, but then also get to see the best of Twitter in our curated Tweet stream with the best commentary about the event.”

Noto also said that Twitter’s launch of dynamic ad insertion for live videos was “very important” and allows it to deliver specific targeted ads to individual people.

Twitter launched Vine in 2013 as a mobile app for capturing and sharing six-second video clips, which could then also be shared on Twitter.

An update earlier this year saw Vine experiment with allowing longer video clips of up to 140 seconds and at the time it also said that it was exploring monetisation opportunities for creators.

In its Q3 earnings report, Twitter reported revenue of US$616 million, an increase of 8% year-over-year, with ad revenues up 6% to US$545 million (€500 million). The firm made a GAAP net loss of US$103 million and non-GAAP net income of $92 million.