Vine Gains Early Followers at TV News Networks
Twitter’s six-second, two-week-old video app peeks behind the scenes
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/11/2013 12:01:00 AMRELATED: Click here to see videos of how networks are experimenting with Vine
Vine, the new video sharing app from Twitter, has been generating lots of buzz since launching on Jan. 24, and TV news networks are already looking at using the platform to promote their brands.
Like an animated GIF, Vine creates a sixsecond video that loops continuously. Videos are shot on an iPhone by holding a !nger to the screen and releasing to create multiple shots that are automatically strung together.
The strategy around Vine is still in the experimentation phase, with most news organizations using it to show behind-the-scenes aspects of their broadcasts. NBC News showed Today anchor Matt Lauer during a segment, while correspondent Keir Simmons documented his trip to Brazil to cover the deadly nightclub fire.
CNN had entertainment editor Abbey Goodman shoot Vines of celebrities on the SAG Awards red carpet and used it to show backstage preparations for Anderson Cooper 360’s town hall on guns. Other news properties like CBS This Morning and MSNBC have Vine accounts but had not as of presstime posted any videos.
As a video-based app, Vine is particularly suited to TV networks, offering the opportunity to use social content to drive viewers to newscasts or stories. “Because they’re video and not just stills, they have so much potential power in the broadcast medium,” says Lila King, senior director for social news at CNN. “We’re already doing promos and teases, and this thing has been around a week and a half.”
One key advantage is that, rather than acting as a competitor to the highly produced video content that news organizations put on TV and online (and monetize), Vine’s six-second limit makes it a wholly different type of storytelling.
“It’s such a short product, and what we do well, we tell highly contextual stories that are high-quality, HD video,” says Ryan Osborn, senior director of digital media, NBC News. “I think in some ways this can be additive to that process, but it really is a new little form of storytelling.”
While six seconds isn’t enough to tell a complete story, videos presented together in a timeline can show a continuing narrative, like at CNN’s Beijing bureau, which is taking a Vine video of the atmosphere every day to track the evolving pollution story over time. Vine also offers a quick way for a journalist or eyewitness to post video from a breaking news scene.
“I think there’s absolutely a journalistic aspect behind Vine,” says Kevin Prince, social media producer for CBS This Morning. “If you’re somewhere where news is breaking, it’s something that a regular tweet with words can’t do.”
Vine has not been without early hiccups, including porn videos, a falling out with Facebook and outcries over its 17+ rating instituted last week. And there is always concern that even the buzziest apps can be a passing fad (remember Color?). But most feel Vine has staying power, not least because it is backed by the legitimacy (and deep pockets) of Twitter.
“It feels like the way the !rst few days of Instagram felt,” King says. “We were all on Flickr and we had all been sharing photos for a million years, but there’s like this extra special secret creativity ingredient that can push something over the edge. And it feels like Vine’s got that.”
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