TikTok’s Three-Minute Videos Let Creators Expand, Monetize

ByteDance-owned TikTok revealed that over the coming weeks it would introduce the ability to share videos of up to three minutes on its platform. TikTok debuted with 15-second videos and later expanded to 60-second videos. TikTok product manager Drew Kirchhoff said the longer videos will give creators “the canvas to create new or expanded types of content … with the flexibility of a bit more space.” With 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., TikTok is now facing competition from Instagram Reels and Snapchat’s Spotlight in an evolving video landscape that could impact the streaming wars.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, “Facebook and Snap have offered payments to lure creators of viral content to their respective apps … and Alphabet’s Google has been pushing YouTube content on its platform.”

Chief executive Devain Doolaramani, whose firm The Fuel Injector represents about a dozen TikTokkers, said that the longer videos “will potentially allow TikTok users to make more money on the platform and help the company compete with other longer-form content providers.” He noted that YouTubers can “repurpose a video or cut up a video into a two/three-minute that’s engaging on TikTok, too.”

TikTokkers who have gone viral are making money via companies that pay them to “use specific songs, wear branded clothing and directly promote products in their videos.” WSJ points out that other social media companies have changed “original principles,” such as Twitter which “walked away from its 140-character limit” and Snap, which “introduced features to allow its users to replay some of their disappearing messages.”

TikTok said the longer form was introduced as a response to “user demand.” Doolaramani said he is “curious to see if people are perceptive to the long-form content and actually retain enough attention to it.”

Variety reports that Kirchhoff noted, “TikTok users already have been posting longer-form video segments, broken into multiple parts.” He said users wanted “just a little more time to bring their cooking demos, elaborate beauty tutorials, educational lesson plans, and comedic sketches to life with TikTok’s creative tools.”

At Instagram, which currently is limited to 60-second videos, chief Adam Mosseri said the company is leaning into video in the future, “with plans to roll out full-screen in-feed videos among other features.”

Changes to these social video platforms could lead to a shifting dynamic in the streaming wars. While major studios, networks and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon focus on offerings such as movies, TV shows and occasionally live news and sports, “the competitive lines between traditional media companies and online video services like TikTok, Google’s YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram and Amazon’s Twitch are blurring,” suggests CNBC.

“The differentiation that exists today — user generated content vs. scripted, free vs. subscription, short-form vs. long-form, gaming vs. professional sports — is bound to dissipate over time as each company tries to dominant consumer attention.” In regards to recent changes, “Instagram wants to be more like TikTok,” notes CNBC. “TikTok is extending the length of its videos to be more like YouTube. Roku seems to be following the Netflix playbook and investing in original video.”

TikTok Is Taking the Book Industry by Storm, and Retailers Are Taking Notice, NBC News, 7/5/21
TikTok Tests a Cameo-Like Option That Lets Users Pay for Custom Creator Videos, Engadget, 7/7/21
TikTok Wants You to Send Video Resumes Directly to Brands to Land Your Next Gig, TechCrunch, 7/7/21

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