Giphy’s New Video Platform Pounds Another Nail In the Coffin of the GIF

Variety reports that the gif, age 32, is suffering from arterial bleeding after being stabbed in the ears on Wednesday morning by Universal Pictures’s Last Christmas starring Emilia Clarke. Location: giphy.com/videos.

Today, GIPHY, the world’s largest library of gifs (or something like them), has released audio-enabled gif lookalike videos (ads) from select media partners including BBC America’s Wonderstruck network, the Chicago Bulls, Universal Pictures, and Geffen Records. GIPHY allows content to run for 30 seconds, an eternity in gif-time and a ton of free air space for user-shared autoplay ads which you’d normally have to pay Facebook and Twitter to promote.

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They’re not phasing out the existing gif library, nor is GIPHY calling the videos gifs, nor are gif-like video marauders new to GIPHY or the wider world. Instead, a two-pronged strategy suggests that we are...pivoting to video...

“While GIFs and Stickers are what we react with, we envision this shareable video format to fuel what we react to (i.e. the conversation starters),” a GIPHY spokesperson tells Gizmodo. “Select partners will be able to upload video clips (30 sec or less, with sound) to their channels on GIPHY.”

Aside from the cold horror of the admission that every gif is a reaction gif, it doesn’t sound so bad, adding banal gif-like things to the already bleak adscape in which we live our lives. But weird assimilated videos have long been encroaching on the file format, iced out by the gatekeepers of Facebook. In 2019, a looping series of images on the internet is more likely to be a video masquerading as a gif and ugly-ass controls are getting between the memetic imagery and our eyeballs.

Just look at this track slider you can’t slide:

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A clusterfuck of buttons right here:

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And the sheer magnitude:

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GIPHY and its media partners seem to consider this behemoth the logical evolution of the gif.

GIPHY CEO Alex Chung tells Variety, unironically:

It took years for GIFs to be popular. After we brought out GIFs and stickers, the culmination of all that is video. We want to be the No. 1 place where people bring video into conversations.

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Universal Pictures SVP of digital marketing Justin Pertschuk cackles:

We just want to be part of it — it’s an opportunity to be first to market with cool content.

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Variety reports, presumably through tears:

Meanwhile, as part of its bigger focus on entertainment, Giphy earlier this year hired former Marvel Entertainment exec Peter Phillips as COO. Phillips previously been executive VP at Marvel heading up digital media, video games and content distribution.

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When GIPHY stops keeping the faith, it’s probably time to start to saying last rites for the gif we’ve come to know and love.

(Update: A GIPHY spokesperson wanted us to clarify that these videos aren’t technically ads, they’re organic content chosen by corporate partners. The key difference between organic content and an ad being that GIPHY claims it wasn’t paid for offering Universal Pictures or the Chicago Bulls an exclusive opportunity to post “user-shared autoplay videos.” We regret the errant language, but not as much as the exec who made that deal probably regrets giving away valuable space to major corporations.)

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About the author

Whitney Kimball

Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo