April 18, 2021

To Match Its Rivals, Facebook Adds Video Sharing

That’s the maximum length of the videos on Vine, a mobile application owned by Twitter that has grown like one of those creeping plants, to close to 20 million users since it sprouted five months ago.

On Thursday, Facebook introduced its own short-video service, built into Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app that Facebook bought last year. The new feature, which is available now, allows users to record up to 15 seconds of video, enhance it with filters and post it immediately.

“We’ve worked a ton on making it fast, simple and beautiful,” said Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, at a news conference at Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters. “What we did to photos we just did for video.”

The move underscores how video has increasingly become critical to companies like Facebook, which is seeking ways to keep its 1.1 billion users entertained and engaged — particularly on their mobile devices. Video also represents a lucrative and fast-growing area of online advertising, with revenue in the United States expected to top $4 billion this year, according to the research firm eMarketer.

“Sharing video is inherently mobile,” said Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray. And Facebook needed to get into the game, he said, adding that the company had to “check that box to remain relevant to their users.”

Although neither Vine nor Facebook’s service are currently offering advertising, it would be easy to sprinkle a sponsor’s video ad into the legions of user-generated videos, much as both services do now with text ads in their users’ feeds.

Jan Rezab, chief executive of the research firm Socialbakers, said that online viewers had a high tendency to engage with video ads, especially if they were deftly inserted into a stream of other content.

“You could actually monetize Vines and the Vine channel by introducing sponsored Vines. Every 10th Vine could be a sponsored Vine,” he said. Facebook could do something similar.

If the short-video format proves to be more than a passing fad, a great deal of advertising revenue could be at stake. YouTube, Google’s longer-format video service, brings in billions of dollars a year in advertising.

Facebook already gets about 30 percent of its advertising revenue from mobile, according to its last quarterly earnings report. If the company could figure out how to aim the video content that individual customers want, it could significantly increase the revenue it is able to make from mobile advertising.

Video holds a promise that goes beyond what static images and nuggets of text can offer. It tends to engage even the most distracted users, particularly when the snippets are easily digestible.

Vine-length videos are ideal when scrolling through a Twitter feed on a smartphone, Mr. Rezab said. Videos tend to be funny, and “you don’t have to hit the play button. The sound kicks in as you’re scrolling over it.”

“The six seconds is just magical,” Mr. Rezab said.

That sense of ease and simplicity was what the Vine team was striving for when it built the app, said Michael Sippey, Twitter’s vice president of product, in an interview.

“We wanted to make mobile video without a start or stop button,” he said. “If you give people simple tools to tell stories, they’ll tell really great stories.”

Some will be funny or trivial, but others will record momentous events, he said, such as this week’s Vine of the protests in Brazil.

The Instagram team sought much the same thing, although it added other features, such as the ability to delete portions of a 15-second video and rerecord them. It also included an image stabilization feature to reduce the choppiness that often comes with hand-held recording.

The simplicity of both apps — press your finger to the screen to record, lift it to stop and click to publish — makes it nearly as easy to share a video as it is to post a photograph. And the form seems aptly suited to modern vanities and attention spans — people peek at their smartphones in line at the grocery store but may also feel moved to document the visit.

Vine has caught the fancy of everyone from the White House, which recently filmed President Obama pedaling a stationary water filtration bicycle, to marketers like Burberry, which this week compressed its entire runway show of men’s fashions into a six-second blur.

Vine, which is operated as a separate service, has drawn new users to the Twitter microblogging platform, Mr. Sippey said. However, “we think that they are potentially separate networks. You may love my tweets but hate my Vines.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/technology/personaltech/facebook-starts-a-short-video-service.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Strong Sales Help Extend Apple Streak

Even without introducing any major new products, the company attracted legions of consumers in the fiscal third quarter. Profits doubled, and revenue increased 82 percent as shoppers continued to buy iPhones and iPads in record numbers.

As one example of its success, Apple turned its tablet into a $6 billion business in the quarter. That is twice as big as Dell’s entire consumer PC business.

Mac computers also showed solid gains, even as competitors struggle to sell PCs.

The results helped to lift Apple’s shares 4.5 percent in after-hours trading, to $393.81. Apple’s shares had already reached a record high in regular trading, and they are almost certain to do so again on Wednesday.

Consumers in emerging markets like China, Brazil and the Middle East played a major role in propelling iPhone sales, Apple said. So did the adoption of the iPhone and iPad by businesses.

Apple did not offer precise figures on how many companies used its phone and tablet, but it gave examples of several — Nestlé, Comcast and Crédit Agricole among them — that used the iPhone in their workplaces, and others — Alaska Airlines, Nordstrom — that used the iPad. Apple also said 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies were either testing or deploying the iPad for use in their offices.

In China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Apple said, sales of all its products grew nearly six times from a year ago.

The iPhone continued to be in high demand, with 20.34 million sold worldwide, more than double the number from the same quarter a year earlier.

The gain came even though an update to the phone is expected later this year, presumably causing some potential customers to postpone buying until the new model, the iPhone 5, becomes available.

Sales of iPads nearly tripled to 9.25 million worldwide as Apple increased production and started clearing a backlog of orders dating from the March introduction of the new version, the iPad 2.

Apple executives had blamed limited manufacturing capacity for the initial shortage.

“Sales of iPad 2 have absolutely been a frenzy,” Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, said in a conference call with analysts. He added: “We sold every iPad 2 in the quarter that we could make. Certainly there was no shortage of demand.”

Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Partners, praised Apple’s overall growth and its ability to sell so many iPhones ahead of a product update. By far, it is the best performing of large technology companies, he said.

“At some point, the music ends,” Mr. Gillis said. “But when you look out at least for the next couple of quarters, I don’t see much of a slowdown.”

Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, who is on medical leave, did not participate in the conference call.

A number of companies like Hewlett-Packard and Samsung are trying to get a piece of the tablet market, an important part of the consumer electronics industry. But Apple is expected to remain dominant with a 78 percent share of the global market in 2011, according to eMarketer.

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., reported that net income in the fiscal third quarter that ended June 25 more than doubled to $7.31 billion, or $7.79 a share, from $3.25 billion, or $3.51 a share, in the year-ago quarter.

The company said revenue climbed 82 percent, to $28.57 billion, from $15.7 billion.

The net income was above the expectations of Wall Street analysts. They had expected $5.80 a share and revenue of $24.92 billion, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters.

Sales of Apple computers did well in the quarter, with a 14 percent gain worldwide to 3.95 million.

The increase far outpaced the modest 2.3 percent industrywide growth during the quarter, as estimated by Gartner, the market research company.

The slow growth in overall computer sales is attributed to a shift by consumers to tablets and cautious spending by corporations. Also, strong growth in the same quarter last year made comparisons difficult.

IPod sales continued their decline, falling 20 percent, to 7.54 million.

Apple’s string of growth over the years has made it a darling of investors. The company is now the most valuable in the technology industry, with a market capitalization of nearly $350 billion, dwarfing many of its rivals.

Apple’s market value is more than 10 times Dell’s, for example, and nearly five times Hewlett-Packard’s. In keeping with its usual practice, Apple issued a conservative forecast for the fourth quarter. Revenue will be around $25 billion, the company said, while net profit will be close to $5.50 a share, both well below analyst expectations of $27.7 billion in revenue and $6.42 a share in profit.

In the conference call, analysts pointed out the discrepancy. Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, said the company’s forecast took into account the disruption caused by the introduction of a new product, which he would not disclose. That product is widely believed to be the next-generation iPhone.

“We are incredibly confident about our business, our product pipeline and what we are doing,” Mr. Oppenheimer said.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=b11a2207a8017d50fc60dabc9fb4024c