Twitter CEO: Vine growing 'as well as we could have hoped'

Dick Costolo weighs in on the health of his 6-second video app during a CNBC Twitter documentary airing Wednesday.

CNBC's Carl Quintanilla with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. CNBC

Reports of Vine stagnating after the launch of Instagram video may be closer to fiction than fact if new statements from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo are any indication.

In a Twitter documentary airing Wednesday night, the information network chief told CNBC journalist Carl Quintanilla that the 6-second video app is "growing just as well as we could have hoped." Twitter purchased Vine in late 2012, prior to its launch, and now runs the service, which lets mobile users on iPhone or Android make miniature movies that loop repeatedly, mostly independent of its primary applications.

The CNBC documentary, entitled #TwitterRevolution, offers a sweeping, melodramatic look at how Twitter has changed pop culture, sports, television, and the way news breaks. Viewers will also get to see Costolo working out in the company's gym, as he attempts to stay fit enough to keep up with Twitter's youthful staff. Of course, Costolo and Quintanilla touch upon more serious matters including rumors around a public offering and Vine, Twitter's creative but infant video application that found an instant rival in Instagram video from Facebook.

Costolo, who referred to Vine as "the 140 characters version of video," said the app is more than meeting expectations and "already inspiring the sorts of creativity that we knew and hoped it would."

The CEO didn't reveal any new Vine data, but did highlight a more general company obsession with metrics. Tracking user growth is "front and center" for the company "all the time," Costolo said.

Tracking, maybe, but not sharing. By June, less than six months after release, Vine had amassed a registered user base of 13 million people. That number is now outdated and does not include people using Vine's Android application, released two months. Still, Vine's current audience surely pales in comparison to that of Instagram's 130 million active members.

Both Twitter and Facebook have remained quiet about their mobile video products in recent weeks, which makes quantifying the rise or fall of Vine, in relation to Instagram, tricky. Instagram was quick to point out that members uploaded 5 million video clips on day one, but has since stayed mum on the subject of video usage. Misleading data gathered from Topsy seemed to suggest that Instagram was taking a bite out Vine's Twitter presence, but the reality turned out to be more nuanced.

In June, Vine was the most downloaded non-game application on Apple's App Store, according to app-ranker App Annie. Perhaps, then, we should take Costolo's assertion that Vine is doing just fine at face value.

 

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