Vine’s six-second format has spawned a lively creative community, but it hasn’t built an advertising infrastructure to support those creators, and some of them are looking for change. According to BuzzFeed, several top Vine personalities recently met with the platform’s parent company, Twitter, to discuss the possibility of compensation for their work.
BuzzFeed’s report did not share the names of specific Vine stars who met with Twitter, nor did it reveal any money-making models discussed by the two sides. Instead, it offered the frustrations of the creators in question, who have not been able to take in any ad revenue despite scoring billions of loops on their six-second videos. “Three and a half years is a long time to have us posting on your platform for free,” said one Vine star. “There’s no war or bad blood, the creators just want to be treated fairly,” added another.
In lieu of ad revenue, Vine stars have relied heavily on brand deals, but even those are starting to dry up. In December 2015, data from Tubular Labs demonstrated Vine’s declining appeal among advertisers, who have increasingly chosen to spend their budgets on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
The Vine stars’ big bargaining chip is their success on other platforms. Many big names in the six-second community have also established channels on sites like YouTube, where they can take advantage of both ad revenue and branded content deals. Should Twitter decline to open up its checkbook, Vine stars would be likely to devote more of their resources elsewhere.
At the same time, Twitter doesn’t have a huge incentive to pay up, either. It has expertly foreseen Vine’s decline, and it has recently focused on its other properties, such as the live-stream service Periscope and its own native video player. It might not be willing to invest in Vine’s homegrown community, and as a result, six-second videos could quickly become a bygone trend.