NPR Story
2:15 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

One Year In, Vine Has Reasons To Celebrate

Vine, the app that lets users create and share six-second videos, celebrated its first birthday recently. Vine is owned by Twitter and boasts 40 million users, including celebrities and politicians like President Obama.

It’s also created its own celebrities, including Nicolas Megalis whose video Gummy Money has 2.2 million “likes.”

Wall Street Journal reporter Jason Bellini joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss Vine. He says the app’s popularity is an indication that short-form video is crossing over into the mainstream in a big way — and has potential to raise lots of money.

[Youtube]

Guest

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Transcript

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

It's HERE AND NOW, from NPR and WBUR Boston. I'm Jeremy Hobson.

And now for a birthday that we want to take note of: The video-sharing app Vine is 1, 1 year old. It's the app that allows users to create and share six-second videos. It is now owned by Twitter, and has about 40 million users. Jason Bellini with The Wall Street Journal joins us from New York, as he does each week, to discuss and say happy birthday to Vine for this one year of business. Hi, Jason.

JASON BELLINI: Hi, Jeremy. Happy birthday, Vine.

HOBSON: Yes, happy birthday, Vine. And it's 40 million users. That is pretty good in the tech world. Why is it so popular?

BELLINI: Well, a few things. This was first-in-class app. It was made for mobile, exactly, and it's designed for the Android, the Apple. And it really lets you do some things that you weren't able to do before with your phone. You can create stop-action animations. And that's where you physically move an object between frames or burst of videos, and it makes it appear like those things move on their own. For example, someone made one where a ketchup packet with a face that moves around appears to reach out, using a stream of ketchup, and grab a McDonald's French fry and then proceed to eat it. And all this happened in six, fun-filled seconds.

HOBSON: Well - and we have a clip. Let's just take a listen, so people can get an idea, if they're not big Vine users. And I don't know that this is going to translate perfectly over the radio, but here is one of Jerome Jarre's most popular Vines. Let's take a listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF VINE VIDEO)

JEROME JARRE: Why is everybody afraid of love? Love, oh.

HOBSON: Jason, he's one of the most popular users on Vine, right?

BELLINI: That's right. He has four million followers. He's French. And what was happening there was he's in an electronics store, it appears like, and he goes up to this, you know, poor woman who's standing there and yells, love, and she screams. And that's kind of his shtick. He likes to go and surprise people. He's a joker. That Vine was created 286 days ago, so quite a while ago, at the beginning of - the dawn of Vine, at its birth. But it's been shared 33,000 times on Twitter.

HOBSON: When it was just a seedling. And, Jason, does Vine have its own celebrities at this point, people who have become huge stars?

BELLINI: It does, indeed. And Jerome Jarre, he's one of them. He counts. A few others that we've met out there: Nash Grier. He has five million followers. He's this goofy 16-year-old. He uses Vine really prolifically. He creates these little funny moments in his school life environment. And the Vine's helped him promote his YouTube channel, where he puts up a new video every Monday, and it has over a million subscribers. So it - and that's why these people are making money, you know, is that they're getting partnerships - they do their partnership with YouTube. And Vine is another way to get themselves out there.

There's another person, Brittany Furlan. She's an inspiring actress. She's another great example, 4.4 million Vine followers. She'll do these random, hilarious Vines. There's one I saw the other day where she - and she basically got 127,000 likes for this. She's in bed, sneezes. The man she's lying in bed with is texting on his phone. She pulls a knife on him and says, say bless you. And he says, holy expletive, bless you. And that's the end of the video, 127,000 likes.

HOBSON: Well, Jason, it's not just, though, young people that are big on this right now. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, has also released a pretty popular Vine. Here he is, summing up his views on Republicans refusing to negotiate during the government shutdown.

(SOUNDBITE OF VINE VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I object.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: I object.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: I object.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: Object.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #5: I object.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #6: I object.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: I object.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: I object.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #7: Object.

HOBSON: Jason, I imagine actually that Harry Reid didn't really make that himself, because I wonder whether he knows how to use Vine. I'm not saying anything about him in particular, but I don't think that my parents could figure out how to use Vine.

BELLINI: No. Well, who knows? But it's certainly a tool that now people in the political world are aware of. I saw another member of Congress who created a little Vine, his first time submitting - he was a freshman member - his first time submitting a bill. And so - and because of it's a stop-action animation, it shows a moment where he takes the bill, and then when he's in the subway. And, you know, something to show the constituents. I'm working here.

HOBSON: Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal, on the first anniversary of Vine. Jason, thanks so much.

BELLINI: Thank you.

HOBSON: This is HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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