Byte, the spiritual successor to Vine, created by Vine co-founder Dominik Hofmann, has been purchased by Clash, a creator monetization company. Clash, co-founded by former Vine star Brendon McNerney, is itself another wannabe smash-hit video sharing app, albeit with a focus on rewarding successful creators. In a statement, the company says that Byte will have the same in-app experience, which will soon be bolstered with new “monetization features.” It added that, for now, both Clash and Byte will not see any interruption with their service, and urged users to download Byte. It’s not clear if the apps will eventually merge, or if the pair will be run in parallel just in case one becomes a big deal.
Hofmann will remain as an advisor at Clash, which has received financial backing from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s new venture capital business. The aim going forward is to “put more power into the hands of creators,” in order to let them “focus on what they love,” rather than worrying about making a living. That may be an attractive proposition for those creators who haven’t yet been able to access the money faucet on hand at both Facebook and TikTok. Both of those platforms, duking it out for dominance in the social video space, are paying creators for the exclusive rights to host material.
In many ways, this will feel like the squaring of a circle that began when Vine was sold to Twitter back in 2012. The app, which hosted six-second clips, was a hugely popular platform that minted a vast number of its own stars. Unfortunately, Twitter’s mismanagement and lack of support left it helpless to defend its position against the rise of Instagram and Snapchat. Vine’s collapse clearly created a vacuum for another viral social video app that would broadly be filled by TikTok.