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TikTok is testing 60-minute videos, which could be a big threat to YouTube

Shubhangi Goel   

TikTok is testing 60-minute videos, which could be a big threat to YouTube
  • TikTok is testing 60-minute videos, challenging YouTube's long-form content domain.
  • TikTok has gradually increased its maximum video length to 10 minutes for all users.

TikTok is giving some users the option to upload 60-minute videos to the platform. That could spell trouble for YouTube and other streaming giants.

The pilot was first publicly spotted by the social-media analyst Matt Navarra. TikTok confirmed the feature to TechCrunch on Thursday.

It's unclear which regions the update is available in and whether it will be accessible to more users. The company told TechCrunch it didn't have immediate plans to make the function widely available.

The update is the latest effort by the Chinese-owned social-media platform to expand its product offerings as user growth slows. When it first launched, the platform allowed creators to post only 60-second videos. The limit is now 10 minutes for all users and 15 for some creators. The TikTok competitors Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts offer similar upload lengths.

The test would put TikTok in the same weight class as YouTube. It would let content creators upload videos that require longer durations, such as in-depth tutorials or family and college vlogs, which are popular on YouTube.

YouTube beats TikTok in terms of overall users in the US. In a Pew Research Center survey conducted last year, 83% of the US adults surveyed said they used YouTube, while 33% said they used TikTok. Among respondents ages 18 to 29, 62% told Pew they used TikTok, but 93% said they used YouTube.

But TikTok is ahead of YouTube by minutes watched: Last year, Business Insider's sister company, eMarketer, predicted that in 2024, adult TikTok users would average 55 minutes a day on the platform — five minutes more than YouTube's average.

"Because of TikTok's shorter content, the platform risks users discovering clipped content and leaving the platform to watch the full version on YouTube," the eMarketer analyst Sara Lebow wrote in December. "Increasing video length could prevent a user from watching half of a video essay on TikTok and finishing the content on YouTube."

Last week, BI reported that Google leaders were encouraging employees who sold ads to capitalize on the possibility of a US TikTok ban by engaging in "thoughtful conversation" with clients about the ban.

TikTok didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from BI.

The longer video feature may also threaten other streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. TikTok has a vast library of unofficially uploaded short clips from popular television shows and movies, which users binge-watch to see the show in full. Access to longer videos of shows may make this activity more commonplace.

Television networks are tapping into TikTok, too. Last year, the streaming platform Peacock uploaded a pilot episode of its comedy show "Killing It" to TikTok. The episode, which was uploaded in five parts, received millions of views. A longer video duration would mean episodes can be uploaded in one go, and viewership may shift from streaming services to TikTok.

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