TikTok Tests Long-Form Video That Could Challenge YouTube

TikTok is experimenting with allowing users to upload 60-minute videos. The feature is being tested among a limited group of users in certain markets, with no immediate plans for a wider rollout, according to reports, which couch it as a move to take on the short-form platform’s biggest competitor, Google’s YouTube. TikTok debuted in 2016 with a native video format of 15-seconds, though the company has been expanding permissible durations over the years. TikTok users have reportedly been requesting the ability to post longer content for areas such tutorials, demos and sketch comedy.

While CNET reports that TikTok wouldn’t reveal which creators it is currently working with on the potential 60-minute format, “last year, the company worked with streaming service Peacock to make an episode of the rags-to-riches sitcom ‘Killing It’ available on its platform broken up into five separate parts.”

TikTok said it “routinely experiments with features that do not become permanent,” according to CBS News. However, the company could be downplaying the move due to recent regulatory scrutiny.

A new law was passed that will force the platform’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, to divest the popular video platform by January 15, 2025, or face a U.S. ban. That legislation resulted in two separate lawsuits being filed against the U.S. government by ByteDance and TikTok creators.

TikTok “has gradually bumped up the length of videos: in January, it gave some creators access to 30-minute clips, and as of now, users can upload content as long as 10 minutes long,” The Verge reports, adding that “content creators who sell subscriptions also have access to 20-minute-long uploads.”

TikTok’s explosive popularity has prompted other platforms — including Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, and LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter) — to add short-form video feeds.

“But as everyone else tries to recreate the appeal of [TikTok’s] For You page, TikTok is doubling down on long-form content and live streaming, formats more strongly associated with YouTube or Twitch,” The Verge notes.

“By giving creators the ability to upload 60-minute videos on TikTok, the company is likely hoping that creators who normally post their content on YouTube will also post their videos on its platform,” TechCrunch says, noting the move would also “give creators the opportunity to experiment with new or expanded types of content with more flexibility.”

TikTok Eyes 60-Minute Video Uploads, Drawing ‘Mini YouTube’ Criticism, ReadWrite, 5/18/24

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