Vine Vs. Video On Instagram: The Jockeying Starts Early, But Is There Room For Both?

By David Cohen 

Is there enough room for both Twitter-owned video-sharing application Vine and Video on Instagram, which was introduced at a press event Thursday at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.? Time will tell, but the jockeying for position began long before Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his counterpart at Instagram, Kevin Systrom, took the stage Thursday.

Facebook fired the first shot in January, when it blocked Vine’s access to its find friends data, with Facebook Director of Platform Partnerships and Operations Justin Osofsky saying at the time that apps that allow users to share data back to Facebook are OK, while those that do not violate the site’s platform policy.

With speculation soaring over the past week as to what Facebook would introduce Thursday, and a video-sharing feature for Instagram emerging as a favorite, Vine quietly hinted at some new features Thursday morning, prior to the announcement by Facebook and Instagram.

Google Plus employed a similar tactic in March, when it revealed a redesign of its profile pages one day before Facebook unveiled its revamped News Feed.

TechCrunch reported that Vine Co-Founders Dom Hoffman and Rus Yusopov posted Vines hinting that the app will soon allow users to create and save Vine drafts prior to sharing them, and that its video stream will be revamped, with the camera button shifting to the bottom center of the screen and remaining in place as users scroll through their streams.

The Verge also uncovered evidence that Vine may be considering the addition of categories as a way for users to discovery videos, in addition to popular hashtags and editors’ picks.

Vine is currently No. 4 on the list of most popular free iOS apps in the Apple App Store, and No. 7 on the corresponding list for Android in the Google Play store.

In an interview with ABC News, Systrom denied that Video on Instagram was developed as a response to Vine, saying that Instagram has been working on a video feature for more than two years, going back to the days when he and Co-Founder Mike Krieger were working on a location-based app called Burbn that allowed users to share their locations, as well as photos and videos.

Systrom told ABC News:

When we decided to work on Instagram, we took the best parts from that project (Burbn) and created Instagram, but we left video on the shelf. All we’re doing today is bringing it back into the product.

I think that Vine’s doing a tremendous job with it. There are others, too, whether it’s, you know, Cinemagram or other apps that do video. At the end of the day, though, we all do it in slightly different ways.

Speaking of Krieger, The New York Times reported last December that he and Systrom had held talks to be acquired by Twitter, even settling on a $525 million price tag, before the Instagram co-founders pulled out of the deal, only to sell out to Facebook for $715 million last September.

So, can Vine and Video on Instagram coexist? The signs point to yes. eMarketer estimated that some 63.7 million people in the U.S. regularly watched video no their mobile phones in 2012, and it sees that total rising to 74.4 million this year, adding that more than 171 million people in the U.S. watched digital video last year via desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet, projected to increase slightly to 182.5 million in 2013.

In addition to competing for users and eyeballs, will the two services soon compete for advertising revenue? eMarketer projects that the overall digital video advertising market will reach $4.1 billion in the U.S. this year, up 41.4 percent from 2012, and it sees mobile video advertising more than doubling to $518 million. The analyst also sees mobile’s share of U.S. digital video ad spending reaching 12.7 percent in 2013, up from 8.4 percent last year, adding that it will top the 25 percent mark by 2016.

Readers: Do you think Vine and Video on Instagram can coexist?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.