Flip Cam: Go Social or Go Home

As you might have already heard, Cisco recently announced that it will be discontinuing its production of the Flip Camcorder, a product whose rights it acquired when it bought Pure Digital for $580 million in 2009. The announcement came as a surprise, and there are a few stories flying around about why Cisco made the choice to stop production, which you can read about here, and here, and here. The bottom line of the stories: People want single purpose devices that are instantly social, and the smart phone has made the Flip Cam obsolete.

Read on after the jump.

Video for the Masses

But this wasn’t the case back in 2008, when the popular Flip Cam stole 13% of the camcorder market, baffling tech geeks who wondered if armies of soccer moms were running around buying up the low-res device in a Flip frenzy. Just one year later, Cisco bought Pure digital, thinking the acquisition would take Cisco’s consumer base to the next level. In doing so, they rightly saw the tremendous growth opportunity: video was becoming democratized and for the masses, and there was money to be made.

Video wants to be shared… and shared quickly. And Flip Cam is simple enough to film, upload, and share to social networks… but has this even become too time consuming for our impatient culture where every second counts? We want to film, upload, edit, and share in real time, even if it means the image is less-than-stellar quality.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 4 has an HD camera, apps with filters for video so you can customize output, and now, apps like Vimeo where you can film, edit, and share all on one device without ever having to attach to a PC. Ironically, just a day after Cisco’s big announcement, Vimeo officially released its new mobile app for iPhone.

Vimeo Stepping Up

If online conversations are any indication of consumer trends (we believe they are), then it is abundantly clear that the Vimeo app – which can film, upload, edit, and share all from one device – could quickly fill any void left by Flip Cam.

Over the past two weeks since Vimeo first announced its new app, the Vimeo app enjoyed over 12,400 online mentions, a 1700 percent increase over its usual online chatter. The flip cam, even in the wake of Cisco’s big announcement that it would no longer be manufacturing flip cams, only earned just 7,149 online mentions during the same time period – a majority of which were attributed to its death. (Source: Radian6)

Flip Cam vs. Vimeo App Online Conversations, Mar 27-Apr 14, 2011

Flip Cam vs. Vimeo App Online Conversations, Mar 27-Apr 14, 2011

But of course numbers don’t tell the full story. A deeper look at online conversations show that most of the Vimeo chatter is among filmmakers and the uber tech savvy – the target audience for Vimeo’s somewhat exclusive, HD-happy community of professional videomakers. And while most are exclamations of, “It’s finally here!,” there are more than a few complaints from people who’ve actually tried it.

But despite any feature drawbacks and hisses from its critiques, Vimeo is smartly stepping up and innovating where Cisco’s Flip Cam fell short: making video filming, editing, and sharing even more accessible for the masses.

In doing so, Vimeo has not only found a way to improve upon the Flip Cam and other video apps (ahem, YouTube), but it has also found a way to broaden its niche by making its community more social and democratized.

The lesson: Go social or go home.

Published by

Kelly Ferraro

Kelly Ferraro is a Digital Influence Strategist for Ogilvy Public Relations in Washington, DC.