June 22, 2022
YouTube is stepping up to fill what it perceives as a short-form video void in India, with a population of one billion, which is facing a ban on Bytedance’s popular video app TikTok. One New York-based creator says 80 percent of his views from a recent viral video short came from India, and YouTube, a division of Alphabet’s Google, is parlaying such information to take on short-form video phenom TikTok globally as video clips become the new battlefield for social media dominance. “There is a long game here,” said Todd Sherman, YouTube Shorts director of product management. “I think short-form video is here to stay.”
Short-form video appeals to “young people, who are most desired by advertisers,” reports The Wall Street Journal. YouTube recently announced that views of its Shorts (videos that run up to 60 seconds) have hit 1.5 billion monthly users.
TikTok in September reported about one billion monthly users for its video shorts outside of China and another 600 million inside its home nation, where parent ByteDance operates a more restricted version of TikTok called Douyin. In February, TikTok officially expanded the length of videos permitted on its platform to five minutes, having experimented with longer-form clips through late 2021 as a concession to advertisers.
While Meta Platforms hasn’t recently disclosed usage figures for its Reels shortform videos on Facebook and Instagram, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in February while reporting quarterly earnings that Reels is his firm’s “fastest-growing content format by far.”
“Among Americans, the most lucrative market for advertising, TikTok continues to reign supreme, but YouTube Shorts is in second place and gaining ground,” reports WSJ, citing a survey by Inmar Intelligence that found “more than 29 percent of respondents picked YouTube Shorts as their preferred short-form video service in June, up from 25 percent in September 2021,” while “TikTok fell as the top choice for nearly 49 percent of respondents in September to 44 percent in June.”
“Related to its new milestone, YouTube also promoted Shorts’ ability to drive viewers to creators’ long-form video channels as a byproduct of its investments in Shorts,” reports TechCrunch, explaining that YouTube is “referring to the trend as ‘the rise of the multiformat creator’ but, in reality, it seems to be more an admission that YouTube still sees more value in its longer-form content.”