TikTok takes on YouTube with 10-minute videos

1 Mar 2022

Image: © mehaniq41/Stock.adobe.com

While TikTok has made its name as a short-form video app, the 10-minute video length is expected to boost advertising revenue.

TikTok has started rolling out a new feature that will allow users to post videos up to 10-minutes long, in a move that will see the app compete with the likes of YouTube and Instagram.

A spokesperson from the short-form video giant, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, said that users will now be able to upload 10-minute videos “which we hope would unleash even more creative possibilities for our creators around the world”.

Chris Stokel-Walker, a tech journalist and author of TikTok Boom, first broke the news yesterday (28 January) when he tweeted a spokesperson’s response to a question about the platform’s video length limit.

It came after Matt Navarra, a UK-based social media consultant and commentator, tweeted a screenshot of an account update from TikTok about the new maximum length for video uploads.

The last time TikTok increased its video length limit was in July 2021, when it gave users the ability to upload videos up to three-minutes long – up from 60 seconds.

TikTok started off as a short-form video platform that focused on 15-second videos, but the length limit was later increased to accommodate longer videos and attract more creators to the platform.

Counter-intuitive move

This latest move is seen as the company’s attempt to compete with the likes of YouTube with longer videos – allowing for more advertisements and potentially more time spent on the app per user.

TikTok creators are also expected to get the chance to do more with the seven-minute boost to video length, with new opportunities for monetising their content.

However, it is also potentially counter-intuitive to what users want from the app. According to internal TikTok survey data seen by Wired, most users have very short attention spans and social media users are “flooded with large amounts of video content”.

Nearly 50pc of users surveyed by TikTok said videos longer than a minute were stressful and one in every three users watched videos online at double speed.

But longer videos, such as those on YouTube, pull in more revenue and may be a necessary option for the app to grow beyond its current market share.

The fact that TikTok is going ahead with this move means it is unlikely that last year’s decision to increase the limit to three minutes did any substantial harm to its user base.

TikTok’s move also comes at a time when other popular platforms such as YouTube and Instagram are trying to appeal to the short-form video audience. YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels were both rolled out in 2020 to directly compete with TikTok.

In December, TikTok emerged as the most popular domain in terms of internet traffic at the end of 2021, according to Cloudflare data, overtaking all US Big Tech companies.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic