YouTube Shorts has over 1.5 billion users
YouTube Shorts has over 1.5 billion users

In an effort to position itself as a competitor to the mainstream short-form video platform TikTok, YouTube announced that the rival shorts service is being watched by more than 1.5 billion logged-in users each month less than two years after its launch.

In contrast, TikTok announced 1 billion monthly users in September 2021. The platform has not released any updated numbers since then. But Tik Tok is expected to reach 1.5 billion monthly users this year.

Regarding the recent acquisition, YouTube is also touting the ability of shorts to direct viewers to creators' long-form video channels, a byproduct of their investment in shorts.

YouTube calls this trend in a variety of ways for content creators. But the trend seems to realize that the platform still sees more value in its longer content.

The company positions its video platform as best reflecting the reality of today's audience, who interact with video at different times and places throughout the day.

In some cases, users may want to quickly scroll through shorter content. Other times, they may be able to watch longer and use traditional YouTube videos.

However, the company's report failed to take into account how TikTok has steadily moved into the long content space, drawing creators into a platform where shorter and longer content is more intertwined.

Although not yet marked as a separate product in the app, TikTok videos can now be up to 10 minutes long. This move aims to attract the same type of longer video creators that YouTube usually attracts.

With the expansion, content creators have more flexibility to film cooking shows, beauty classes, educational content, comedy, and more without worrying about video length.

Additionally, long videos can open the doors to more ways to display ads.

YouTube describes short films as a provider of feature-length content

On the other hand, YouTube seems to be taking a different strategy. The Google-owned platform doesn't make short forms the core of its service like TikTok, and instead makes long forms an option, but it sees short forms as a way for creators to reach new audiences that could, in the long run, become a more regular form.

The platform says that long-form content remains the best way for content creators to deeply engage with their audience and form lasting relationships with them. But short films offer a new way for content creators to be a part of the audience journey and present themselves and their entire portfolio to new audiences. This approach gives real results.

She added that channels with short and long content have better overall watch time and subscriber growth than channels with a single format.

The company did not share any specific numbers regarding the increase in average watch time. Instead, it cited case studies as evidence of this trend.

One of them, creator Ian Boggs, boosted his channel's views to 4 billion, 73% of which were short films. Boggs has switched to shorts during the pandemic and gained 5 million subscribers between 2021 and 2022.

In another example, designer Rosanna Pancino has more than doubled the number of views on her channel since introducing the short films.

YouTube's strategy seems to be to position short stories as a longer content provider rather than a core product. This is in line with the platform's broader goal of tracking TV ad revenue rather than being limited to digital ads.

As part of that effort, this year YouTube hosted its annual brand event through TV Upfronts instead of NewFronts for the first time.

She talks about how many times she's watching YouTube on the big TV in the living room. She said that she spends more than 50% of her time watching ad-supported programs on TV.

It's worth noting that YouTube uses short clips to drive traffic to longer videos. This indicates that it sees its main value in providing longer and more expensive content to the ad market, not a TikTok clone.

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