It’s rare for a multimillion-dollar company to openly declare that its business is moribund simply because it’s not great to live in.
But that is the bold strategy that search engine gif Giphy has embraced with UK competition regulator, which is trying to block a $400m (£352m) takeover bid by Facebook owner, Meta.
In a filing with the Competition and Markets Authority, Giphy said that there is simply no other company than dead would buy it.
Her valuation is down $200 million from its 2016 peak, and most importantly, her primary show is showing signs of going out of fashion. “There are indications of an overall decline in the use of motion pictures,” the company said. in his file,” due to a general decline in user and content partner interest in gifs.
“They’re out of fashion as a form of content, with younger users in particular describing motion pictures as ‘for boomers’ and ‘regressed.'”
To emphasize this point, the Giphy deposit included links to several articles and tweets.
The generational divide is real, he says Internet culture writer Ryan Broderick. “Motion pictures look very dated. It wasn’t easy to make and didn’t work well on mobile.
So now it’s basically the embarrassing reaction image your millennial manager uses in Slack. Instead of what they used to be, it was a decentralized kind of image to communicate on blogs and message boards. It’s kind of sad how big companies, copyright laws, and phone browsers are. Mobile, gif choked.”
The moving image is also comfortably millennials: invented in 1989, it predates not only smartphones and social media but even the World Wide Web. It has grown in popularity along with the rise of the web as the easiest way to add traffic to a page but it has slowly fallen out of favor with other methods of displaying images that require less time-limited bandwidth.
Its revival came in early 2010, along with the growth of the social network Tumblr. While gifs were never intended as a substitute for video, faster internet connections meant that they were again the easiest way to share short clips – too short to have meaning on their own but perfect for adding context and color to posts in the form of a ‘reply’ gif verb.
Made famous by Tumblr blogs like What should we call me, which curated the perfect set of responses to any situation, the motion pictures of reactions quickly became synonymous with the same format. Why reply to a post with “OMG,” when you can post a quick clip of Donald Glover from the sitcom community walking into a burning room holding a stack of pizza?
At the height of its cultural influence, making, publishing, and coordinating motion pictures could easily have become a full-time job. Top creators have been known for the speed with which they can clip shareable moments from TV shows or live events as they air, as well as their ability to massage the format to keep the frame rate high and the file size low.
But while the more specialized stickers kept large archives of their most used gifs, carefully sorted and named, for many, keeping track of a sticker just right to use in any situation was tedious.
This was the problem Giphy sought to solve when it was founded in 2013. As a “gif search engine,” the company collected over 300,000 people from all over the web, tagged and rated them, and helped users find just the right person for anyone. specific case.
“Giphy was contemplated over breakfast with my project partner, Alex Chung, as he contemplated the rise of pure visual communication,” co-founder Jace Cooke He said in a 2013 interview with the Daily Dot. “We both couldn’t get over how hard it was to find and share motion pictures, and we thought we could do something about it.”
But the motion pictures of democratization also laid the seeds for its destruction. “Whether by design or intent, Giphy’s research tools have resulted in a marked monotony in motion picture culture,” said Brian Feldman. Internet Culture Writer in 2020.
“The same principles that apply to Google seem to also apply to Giphy: If you’re not in the first three results, you might not be there either. Animations for responses are becoming flatter and less diverse.”
Technical changes exacerbated the problem. The same reasons why gif died the first time have not disappeared: technology produces large files with poor image quality.
Even with sites like Twitter and Facebook built in to support posting gifs, they have also changed them, converting them into video files for more efficient viewing on mobile devices. This means that users cannot simply download the gif they’ve seen and save it for later, flattening the available selection.
The gifs last year They tell their own story. As Giphy has grown as a business, to the point that its annual revenue is now estimated at $27.5 million by GrowJo analysts, it has faced another problem: copyright.
The company’s response has been to partner with the media to host original motion pictures, and today, Nine of the 10 best gifs on the site in 2021 It was posted there by the company that made it, in a joint promotional push to encourage viral content.
1 motion picture of 2021 was a slow-motion rounding up of Stanley’s character from the American version of The Office — a clip from a 15-year-old episode of a show that was old even before Giphy was founded. Second place clip of Tom, of Tom and Jerry sleeping on a pillow. The third is from a contemporary source, a screenshot of Bake Off looking shocked. Only one, a cartoon of a happy fat duck dance, was created by someone other than a major media partner.
Giphy even lists its “ability to retain key content partners” as a primary reason for the CMA to allow it to go ahead with the Meta acquisition, arguing that a less respected owner could jeopardize relationships.
But the motion picture has also surpassed Giphy. Not all GIF keyboards in apps like WhatsApp and Twitter may use the service — there are also competitors like Tenor, which Google acquired for an undisclosed amount in 2018 — but they all have the same effect: making it easier for people to send quick, shareable clips to each other. And yes, this includes boomers.
Top 2021 pictures in
1. Stanley bored from the US office
2. Tom is tired of Tom and Jerry
3. Liam Shocked From The Great British Bake Off
4. Sad Pikachu from Pokemon
5. Agatha Harkness wink at WandaVision
6. Peppa Pig says “¡Pheles Kumble!” From Peppa Pig in Spanish.
7. Super Bowl Weekend Performance
8. Daphne Bridgerton laughing at Bridgerton
9. Happy Dancing Duck by Foodieg Animation
10. Happy Baby Yoda from The Mandalorian