Byte, a Reboot of Vine, Hits 1.3 Million Downloads in First Week of Short-Form Video App’s Launch

Byte — the newly reborn 6-second video app from one of Vine’s co-founders — has been downloaded at least 1.3 million times worldwide in its first week of public availability, according to research firm Sensor Tower.

Byte’s relatively fast shot out of the gate since bowing in a beta test on Jan. 24 shows the pent-up interest in the short-form video platform, particularly among fans of the original Vine. If it gains traction, Byte could represent new competition to TikTok, the popular video app owned by China’s ByteDance.

And unlike TikTok, Byte is adopting a revenue-sharing model for creators as it vies for attention: The company announced Friday that it will share the majority of ad revenue with creators over time — and 100% of the revenue under an initial pilot phase.

Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann announced plans two years ago to revive the short-form video concept in a project originally dubbed “V2.” He was part of the team that started Vine in 2012 before it was acquired a year later by Twitter — which shut Vine down in 2017 after being unable to find a business model for it, a dispiriting blow to the app’s users.

“We’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and the community that loved them,” Byte’s app description reads. The estimated 1.3 million downloads to date are across both iOS and Android, per Sensor Tower. On Apple’s App Store, the app has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating averaged over about 2,800 rankings.

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The Byte launch hasn’t been without some stumbles: Users complained about spam-bot comments in the app less than two days after its release. Hofmann, in a blog post titled “Taking out the garbage,” said Byte was trying to address the problem as quickly as possible and that it would be “making more dramatic changes to comments” in the medium term including features for blocking, filtering and limiting commenting.

On Friday, Byte (byte.co), whose app carries the tagline “Creativity First,” shared details of its Partner Program, which will pay creators a cut of ad revenue for the “bytes” they post to the app. Other perks of the program include direct contact to the Byte team; access to experimental features; and invites to Byte meet and greets.

Byte’s advertising campaigns will first launch Feb. 1 as a card in the “Explore” tab. The company says it’s not running pre-roll ads in videos or ads in creators’ feeds, nor is it placing ads based on retargeting.

The revenue sharing will be based on a “Partner Pool” of money, created every 120 days, that will be paid out in four 30-day installment periods. Creators will be paid for every 30-day installment period based on their total viewership on posts they made during the period; the payment levels will be based on tiers (Viewership Brackets), which will determine how much creators at each level get paid. All partners within a Viewership Bracket will be paid the same amount.

“We believe that more evenly compensating a greater number of creators will contribute to a healthier, more creative community,” Byte said in announcing the Partner Program.

Meanwhile, during the pilot period, 100% of ad revenue will go to creators through the Partner Program. “Our long-term plan is to have a majority of the revenue going to creators, with a minority going to us to help with our operations and business,” the company said.

The Partner Program will initially launch under the pilot only in the U.S. The company said it will reach out to creators over the next few weeks and will kick off the first Partner Pool within 60-90 days. Creators interested in applying to the Partner Program can submit an application via this Google Docs form.

Byte also noted that it is exploring “multiple ways to help creators get paid” in addition to the rev-share program.

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