Yahoo! jumps on video bandwagon with Qwiki acquisition

Yahoo! has jumped on the video bandwagon with its latest acquisition, snapping up mobile video platform Qwiki for $US50 million in yet another of the company’s string of acquisitions.

The move comes after buying blogging platform Tumblr for $US1 billion earlier this year, along with several smaller mobile-based acquisitions, such as news app Summly and video conferencing platform Rondee.

Qwiki was founded by internet entrepreneur veterans Louis Monier and Doug Imbruce and counts Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin as an early investor.

YouTube cofounder Jawed Karim and Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky are also counted as investors.

The app itself is simple – it turns photos from a user’s smartphone into video.

But Yahoo’s acquisition highlights a recent trend that has popularised video apps in the last six months. Vine, launched by Twitter earlier this year, allows users to create short six-second clips and post them online – its web traffic has since blasted to record millions of unique viewers a month.

Instagram has also recently launched video capability, allowing users to post 15-second video clips. According to a recent measurement by mobile company Avvasi, Instagram video traffic made up 30% of all web-based video traffic in its first week – even surpassing YouTube and Vine.

“We will continue to support the Qwiki app, and the team will join Yahoo! in our New York city office to reimagine Yahoo!’s storytelling experience,” Yahoo! said in a blog post.

All Things Digital reported the app was picked up for between $US40 and $US50 million.

The purchase highlights Yahoo’s strategy in attempting to control new and vibrant technologies, but it also underlines the popularity of video-sharing as a practice.

Foad Fadaghi, the head of research at Telsyte, told SmartCompany the popularity of the trend is clear.

“You’re seeing faster networks, 4G networks and higher quality video recording on handsets,” he says.

“This is driving development of apps and social networking around video content. This acquisition is just a continuation of that trend and showing Yahoo! wants to be a part of it.”

The acquisitions form a growing number of businesses under the Yahoo! banner, under the leadership of chief executive Marissa Mayer. For now, however, Fadaghi says the raft of changes won’t mean a lot for the organisation locally.

“I don’t think there has been a lot of change within the organisation locally,” he says. “Part of that may have to do with the Yahoo!7 partnership here.”


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