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Vine Hits 40 Million Users And Spawns A Whole New Shortform Video Industry

As social video continues to gain popularity, so do new tools to help users and brands make the most of it. Pitch'd is the latest.

Vine has reached 40 million users, it announced on its parent company Twitter yesterday. It's an impressive figure, when you think that numbers have tripled in just two months—and all of this despite Instagram's best efforts to hole Vine below the waterline with the introduction of its own short-form video function. So, regardless of whether you're on Team Instagram or Team Vine—or the just-hatched MixBit, there is a whole new economy springing up around the short-form video, which is proving attractive to both brands and media—including Fast Company—alike. Perhaps the best-known of these is MOFILM, which is aimed at the top end of the market.

But there's a new kid in town. U.K. startup Pitch'd aims to provide a platform and analytics tool for brands and agencies who want to get user-generated short videos talked about on social media. It's led by a former Procter & Gamble brand-builder, Adam Stamper, who launched the platform with the smirk-inducing Dullvine contest, inviting people to post the most boring six seconds of loop they can come up with.

Fast Company chatted to Stamper yesterday, who had a parallel career as a successful social media app developer while he was at P&G. He sees short-form video as "the biggest thing to happen in marketing since Facebook, and brands need to be ready for this new era of 'people powered advertising.'"

Pitch'd "helps brands and agencies move beyond the Mad Men-era model where creativity was a commodity which only 'creatives' in an ivory tower could deliver. In terms of buzzwords," he continued, "it gamifies crowdsourced brand content."

Stamper's background in social apps made one thing very clear to him: Brands needed to adopt a very different modus operandi on social media. "I saw on one side the huge media budgets spent by advertisers," he says, "and on the other side huge traction with very little spend—one of my apps ended up being used by over 4 million people, to my chagrin as the servers it was hosted on kept melting. That was the inspiration for Pitch'd—the idea that advertisers would be better served by working with their audience, rather than expensively yelling at them."

But Pitch'd's services do not come cheap. The most basic package is aimed at agencies and starts at £749—that's almost $1,175. For that, they get a leaderboard that works on desktop, mobile, and Facebook, a built-in retweet and Facebook vote function, plus moderation and analytics, but will still have to run the campaign themselves. Choose the top-tier version and you'll be paying out around $9,400 a month. Stamper justifies it thus:

"The alternative is for the agency to custom-develop functionality from scratch which echoes Pitch'd—and this would cost far more and take far longer. The Gold package would suit a large digital agency with many clients; they would still add sufficient value to the brands they worked with for this to make financial sense. With either package there's potential for the brand to secure epic return of investment, as their users' entries can reach millions of connections at a very low cost—just the fee plus the brand's prize/incentive."

[Image: Flickr user outcast104]