fter mobile photo-sharing app Instagram was snatched up by Facebook for a staggering $1 billion, many analysts were left wondering, what's next? According to The Wall Street Journal, it's an Instagram for video — an app that would allow you to use your smartphone to capture, upload, and share clips directly with your followers. Sure, video demands huge amounts of bandwidth and minutes (or more) of a user's time to capture and watch. But still, socially-shared clips seem to be Silicon Valley's newest holy grail. Here, a brief guide:
Why would a video-sharing app be so successful?
"Video & Photo is now the fastest growing mobile app category across the major mobile platforms," says Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch. Instagram already wears the photo crown, and with affordable smartphones boasting built-in HD video cameras, and wireless providers like AT&T eager to sell consumers more bandwidth, "the time is right for social video apps."
Do these video apps exist?
Yes, and a few are vying for the top spot: Viddy, Socialcam, Mobli, and Color. Viddy has been downloaded 26 million times since it launched a year ago, and is currently adding an astounding million users a day. Socialcam, an offshoot of online streaming site Justin.tv, has accumulated more than 36 million users since it launched 14 months ago, and is perched atop the free section of Apple's App Store.
How do these apps make money?
They don't, really. "The biggest issue in mobile is monetizing," Dino Decespedes, vice president of Mobli, tells the Journal. Phones are "not a sexy place to put ads," and users tend to hate them. But that's hardly just a video problem. Instagram may have 35 million users, but it still has no revenue stream.
Do they make any money?
Some do. Viddy has extra features users can purchase, like color filters and video effects, while Mobli is experimenting with Disney-themed frames. But these add-ons do little to generate substantial revenue. The goal for now, says Chris Gabbard at WebProNews, is to "grow large enough and fast enough" to "draw the attention of major players in the industry" — just like Instagram did with Facebook.
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