Vine Gains Early Followers at TV News Networks

Twitter’s six-second, two-week-old video app peeks behind the scenes 2/11/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern

RELATED: 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
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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her on Twitter: @andreamorabito


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