It’s still incredibly early days for Byte, but a cursory chat with top Vine stars of yesteryear reveals both high hopes and an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for the six-second content platform.

And it’s not just a feeling in the air: Byte topped the app charts in the weekend of its debut, peaking at the No. 1 position on Apple’s ‘free’ app charts in the U.S. And according to data firm Sensor Tower, the app generated 1.3 million overall downloads in its first week — with 912,000 installs hailing from the U.S., and the majority of the remainder coming from the U.K. and Canada.

Byte was established by Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann in Nov. 2017 in the wake of  Twitter-owned Vine’s demise. After persevering through various legal and financial hurdles, Byte — by most accounts a spiritual replication of its predecessor — launched in beta last May and officially arrived in the app store on Jan. 25. What feels most promising about Byte is its forthcoming monetization plans. This is a critical piece of the puzzle in the minds of creators, they said, given that a lack of monetization precipitated Vine’s downfall.

To this end, Byte’s forthcoming Partner Program — which will initially only be available in the U.S. and be accessible via application in the next 60 to 90 days — will feature a bracketed rev-share model. Every 30 days, the company will calculate total viewership, which will place creators into different brackets to determine payment. All partners within a bracket will be paid the same amount, with the higher the the viewership resulting in more earnings.

Money from the Partner Program will come from ads, though the app is being very specific about where they appear: not in front of Bytes, or in the ‘following feed’, nor will the platform run any retargeting ads (which are typically re-served to people that have already visited a specific website, commanding higher CPMs but also raising privacy concerns). During a pilot program, 100% of ad revenues will go to creators. The company says its long-term plan is to have “a majority of the revenue going to creators, with a minority going to us to help with our operations and business.” That said, it hasn’t confirmed a specific breakdown.

“If creators know they can depend on Byte earnings and build an audience there, they will commit to the platform,” Tyler McFadden, the founder and co-CEO of Collab — a digital network that worked with a majority of top Vine stars at that platform’s peak — tells Tubefilter. “Providing consistent monthly earnings and audience growth for video creators is what we focus on at Collab. Hopefully, Byte can maintain the positive momentum and become both a place for short-form creativity and long term income for creators.”

We spoke to five former Viners and current Collab creators, who shared their thoughts and hopes for the platform, which you can check out right here:

1. Jason Nash // Biggest platform: 2.6 million YouTube subscribers

What are your first impressions of Byte?
Wow, what a great interface. Good content on there already. Great home page. It looks like they did a really good job to make sure there was good content on there from day one.

How does your experience thus far on Byte compare with the feeling when you started on Vine?
Well it’s a heck of a lot prettier than Vine. As far as the feeling: it’s way more advanced but it’s also under a lot more pressure. The bar is so high with TikTok.

What are your hopes for the Byte partner program and monetization?
If they can pay their creators, they will be successful. I hope they do it cause there’s so many deserving creators out there who should be paid for what they do.

What’s your big prediction for the platform?
I think it’s gonna make it. The general reaction from my friends is that it’s good. So they already have a strong word of mouth going for them.

Though it’s early days, what’s the one thing you love or would tweak about Byte?
More people on there!

2. Chris Melberger // Biggest platform: 128,000 Instagram followers

What are your first impressions of Byte?
It’s sleek, simple, and pretty easy to navigate. Feels familiar to the old Vine days. The notification tab could use some work, but I think that is already planned and in motion.

How does your experience thus far on Byte compare with the feeling when you started on Vine?
It’s different for me, I think. I’ve had a bunch of ideas and videos ready for this moment so I kinda took off WAY quicker than I did back on Vine.

What are your hopes for the Byte partner program and monetization?
Making money for content would be cool. I’m curious how it will work and if it’ll be done right. That was Vine’s biggest mistake and I feel like Dom and the team at Byte know this and are super prepared.

What’s your big prediction for the platform?
I think it’ll be a solid app that can live in the same world as TikTok. Short, fun bits of video for a different experience. I still plan on posting on both.

Though it’s early days, what’s the one thing you love or would tweak about Byte?
Seeing people’s likes and notifications being more organized. Choosing between who has commented, liked, or re-Byted me would be perfect.

3. Eric Dunn // Biggest platform: 187,000 YouTube subscribers

What are your first impressions of Byte?
I love it. Has the same supportive, tight community that Vine had in its early stages. When it released, the first Bytes were making fun of TikTok dancers as well as sarcastic jokes about old Viners returning to the app. If you aren’t a stick in the mud and can appreciate a six-second joke, you will find yourself easily consuming Byte. Don’t get me wrong, of course there will be cringe like on any app, but there are some really creative videos out there. You can’t find them unless you give it a chance.

How does your experience thus far on Byte compare with the feeling when you started on Vine?
Honestly feels the same. When Vine started, we didn’t get to use the front-facing camera feature to make videos. We only had the back camera, and we couldn’t see what we were shooting. Kids these days don’t know the struggle. The app would also crash so much. You could have filmed 15 takes, hit the post button, and the app would crash and you would have to film again.

The design of Byte is obviously different. There is a huge profile color palette to choose from and you can also change the app icon that you see on your phone’s home screen. Your followers are not shown to the public right now, but that may be changing. There is no trending hashtag page (yet) but Dom has been updating the app on the regular. Other than that, it feels like Vine in its comedy style and community.

What are your hopes for the Byte partner program and monetization?
I hope at least with monetization they aren’t too strict with censorship (such as with profanity and sexual humor) — as YouTube is. The Partner Program is interesting. One thing Vine never had was a way to pay creators without a third party, so I look forward to seeing how that develops. It’s never been done, we are truly in the best times.

What’s your big prediction for the platform?
I think the six-second concept was taken from the world too soon and at its peak when we were all getting used to it. If an app can influence Facebook/Instagram to make changes, you’re doing something right. That’s right, kids, there were days when Instagram was just for pictures. Vine came out and took off and only then did Instagram add video to their platform.

A platform is only as successful as its users. People want things to happen fast these days and freak out when they don’t. Chill out. I think Byte has longevity. Let’s not predict, let’s just create content and go. I could have never predicted I would have 1 million followers in five months on Vine, so no need to start now.

Though it’s early days, what’s the one thing you love or would tweak about Byte?
I love how active it is. I dropped one video on the night they released — making fun of my age — and it got over 200,000 loops in 24 hours. I had 1 million video loops total in 24 hours, and as of this writing I have 25,000 followers on Byte. The nostalgic crowd is there and I’d encourage the Viners that once found joy creating in six seconds to try to seek it again because the community wants and needs you.

4. Eh Bee Family // Biggest platform: 10.9 million Facebook followers

What are your first impressions of Byte?
I think it’s great see that the simplicity in telling a story in six seconds is back.

How does your experience thus far on Byte compare with the feeling when you started on Vine?
It really does give us the same feeling we had when we first started using Vine. There’s something special about keeping this game simple. It really challenges users to create compelling content in such a tight space.

What are your hopes for the Byte partner program and monetization?
We have high hopes for the Byte partner program. If they can find a way to share revenue with creators fairly, that will just secure the longevity of the app. Creators need to be treated fairly and with respect, so it’s nice to see that Byte has this in mind right from the beginning.

What’s your big prediction for the platform?
It’s hard to predict whether the platform will have long-term success, but if they keep to their core values of having a simple tool to create great stories with the addition of looking after creators, Byte stands a great chance of sticking around for a long time.

Though it’s early days, what’s the one thing you love or would tweak about Byte?
I love how quickly you can access various types of content by each category. This is something that I loved about Vine that other platforms have had a tough time duplicating.

5. Blake ‘BatDad’ Wilson // Biggest platform: 8.3 million Facebook followers

What are your first impressions of Byte?
FUN. It is great to see the creativity that the six-second constraint unleashes in people.

How does your experience thus far on Byte compare with the feeling when you started on Vine?
It is very nostalgic. It brought back the same excitement I felt when I discovered Vine. There was nothing else like it at all. I just love the six-second constraint and trying to figure out what can fit in that box. Although I feel now I need to not push it too hard and hope for other people to have the same opportunity I have had. Vine changed my life forever; hopefully Byte can do the same thing for people.

What are your hopes for the Byte partner program and monetization?
Everyone appreciates the opportunity to make money, especially doing something you enjoy. There is nothing better than just being able to make your videos and earn money doing so. That is lacking big-time for short-form video creators.

What’s your big prediction for the platform?
Byte is here to stay. Vine was the original ‘beta’ and the bugs have been officially ironed out.

Though it’s early days, what’s the one thing you love or would tweak about Byte?
What I love is that it is basically Vine. That’s what we all miss! Nothing to tweak, just grateful it exists.

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