Twitter now has the means to turn Vine creators into bonafide stars...of ads.
It just acquired Niche, a company that does a bunch of things, including connect social media stars to advertisers. Twitter didn't disclose financial terms of the deal, but Re/code has put the sale around $30 million. If you're wondering why Twitter would spend that much on a relatively unheard-of agency, just look at Vine.
What is Vine, and did it inspire Twitter to buy Niche?
Vine is a video sharing service that Twitter acquired in 2012, shortly before its official launch. The mobile app allows users to record and publish six-second-long looping video clips called Vines.
Anyone who has spent time using Vine over the last two years will tell you that the number one most annoying thing about it is that the creators who exploded in popularity overnight now regularly post sponsored or promoted clips. In fact, if you look at our list of the top Vine stars, all of them consistently post what can be essentially described as ads.
You can't blame them. They create content that millions of fans enjoy, and they would like to be compensated for their time and creativity. The biggest Vine stars even have managers and talent representatives, all with the hopes that they can net more lucrative advertising deals. But Twitter has finally figured out a way to get in on the action.
It's going to help content creators not only distribute their content, but also partner with advertisers so that they can get paid for said content. The idea is that Twitter will have the resources to connect Vine stars with its own talent reps through Niche, and together, everyone can keep things in-house while generating more content and money.
Has Twitter ever had a relationship with Niche?
In a blog post published on 11 February, Twitter confirmed it acquired Niche and admitted Niche has been a key partner to both Twitter and Vine over the last year. It also shared examples of Vine ads, in which Niche had helped Vine stars, including Robby Ayala, make money off advertising the Hewlett-Packard Pavilion x360, among other things.
"The company has helped fuel the creator economy by developing leading technology, consisting of free, cross-platform analytics, as well as connecting the creative community directly with the world’s biggest brands," Twitter explained.
So, what does this mean?
Get ready for more ads in your Vine feed.
Want to know more about Niche?
Rob Fishman, co-founder of Niche, used to run social media at The Huffington Post before he started a startup built on Facebook data called Kingfish Labs (which he later sold to BuzzFeed). Some of Niche's funding, about $4 million worth, has come from investors like William Morris Endeavor, another famous talent agency.
Check out Niche's website to see more examples of what it does and who it represents. It's currently signed over 6,500 creators, one of which is Matt Cutshall. He has nearly 1 million followers on Vine and was hired by Niche to appear in Vine ads for things like Showtime’s Californication series.