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Byte rises from the ashes of Vine: 5 things we've learned so far


By John Glenday, Reporter

January 28, 2020 | 4 min read

Earlier this week, a new app dubbed Byte was launched from the co-creator of Vine which will try and reclaim the short-form video audience that TikTok has made its own, but are humour and nostalgia sufficient for it to carve out a niche in today’s cut-throat market?

Byte rises from the ashes of Vine: 5 things we know so far

Byte aims to pick up where Vine left off

Byte seeks to capitalise on lingering nostalgia for Vine, the now-defunct short-form video app which ceased looping video back in 2013 following its ill-fated Twitter takeover.

Offering strict six-second looping videos for the delectation of viewers the service touts itself as a direct descendent of its ancestor as embodied by Vine co-founder Don Hoffman.

For now, Byte is a bare-bones experience with none of the more advanced features popularized by Chinese app TikTok (which currently offers its young, engaged audience side-by-side video reaction, filters and augmented reality).

As it carves out its own path, Byte is having to contend with some early teething troubles including a deluge of profanity-laden spam

Here, The Drum explores what we've learned about Byte so far.

1. Built from the ashes of Vine, Byte shares a founder in Dom Hofmann

Byte aims to pick up where Vine left off following its shutdown by parent firm Twitter in 2013, still a bone of contention for original co-founders Don Hoffmann, Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov.

On Byte's Twitter page, a tweet said: "Dear friends, today we're bringing back 6-second looping videos and a new community for people who love them.

"It's called byte and it's both familiar and new. we hope it'll resonate with people who feel something's been missing."

2. Its rich heritage is courting creators

This includes TikTok regulars and former Vine stars Chris Melberger; Joshdarnit; Lance Stewart and Benji Krol. On Friday (24 January) Byte “ended the week as the top-charting free iPhone app on the US App Store.

3. Moderation is already an issue

Byte has had an inauspicious start having been overrun with spam comments as people take advantage of moderation weaknesses to post unsavoury content. Hoffman addressed the spam problem in a community post earlier this week and promised both a short-term fix and a more durable solution for the future.

4. It's been built with sharing in mind

Videos can be downloaded to share on the likes of Twitter or Instagram, replicating the success of similar functionality on TikTok which has enjoyed an enormous boost from the cross-pollination of content.

5. Byte wants to work with creators

Byte will launch a partner program to pay content creators "very soon" in an effort to kickstart a symbiotic relationship between the platform and its creators

Friendly rivalry is already in evidence with Byte fans having distanced themselves from their TikTok cousins by posting videos exhorting others to keep enemy trends off the app. However, whether such passions can translate short form video into long-term business success remains to be seen.

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