Behold, Vine Reborn

Behold, Vine Reborn
Screenshot: Byte

Vine and its sequel, V2, may be dead, but from their ashes arises a new contender to take up the six-second video mantle: Byte.

Unveiled in a company Twitter thread Friday, this new app for iOS and Android hopes to be every bit the spiritual successor Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann has been hinting at since 2017. Not in name though, interestingly, unlike his first attempt at a Vine reboot, which went by the moniker V2 in promo art before the project was eventually canned in 2018

“Today we’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and a new community for people who love them,” the company announced on Twitter. “It’s called byte and it’s both familiar and new. We hope it’ll resonate with people who feel something’s been missing.”

It’s a testament to how strong Vine’s cult following has remained even after Twitter shelved the viral short-form video app in 2016. Sure, similar micro-entertainment fare like TikTok and Instagram Stories have tried to fill the hole Vine left behind, but so far nothing’s achieved the same meme-laden cultural clout of a good old-fashioned Vine compilation video.

However, Byte has taken a page from these more contemporary competitors and iterated on the app’s core design, incorporating the social features users today have come to expect like a feed, notifications, and an Explore page. And, of course, Vine’s hallmark: six-second looping videos.

So, yeah, essentially it’s Vine version 2.0. Though the company appears to be trying to tackle the matter of getting its influencers paid now rather than later. No doubt in an attempt to avoid another mass exodus of influential stars after failing to meet their financial demands, as was the fate of Byte’s predecessor.

While details weren’t immediately clear, Byte claimed it’s currently developing on a “partner program” to help influencers monetise their content. In an interview with TechCrunch, Hofmann said the company’s exploring several monetisation options at the moment, “but we’ll be starting with a revenue share + supplementing with our own funds.” A pilot program is currently in the works, he continued, but there’s no word yet as to any kind of launch date. 

Whether Byte manages to catch the same lightning in a bottle remains to be seen, and now—unlike when Vine launched in 2012—it now faces the hurdle of having to compete for users’ attention among a bevy of other short-form video apps. Nostalgia is powerful, sure, but it can only get you so far if that good, good meme content doesn’t stack up.