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As TikTok Faces the Spectre of a ban, Here's how YouTube is Ramping up its Shorts Feature

YouTube has heavily invested in its Shorts program to compete with Reels and TikTok
Photo illustration the logos TikTok alongside that of that of YouTube | Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy
Photo illustration the logos TikTok alongside that of that of YouTube | Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy

Dark clouds of a possible ban are circling above TikTok in the American market, raising concerns among content creators and businesses, which are more likely to look for alternatives. While TikTok has become a go-to platform for short-form content, YouTube has dominated the market for long-form content. However, both these platforms are trying to change that with YouTube eyeing TikTok’s market with YouTube Shorts as TikTok tries to offer long-form content on its platform. YouTube claims that it is winning this battle as hundreds of thousands of creators are now earning a paycheck from posting ‘shorts’ on the platform. The Google-owned platform is banking on its deep pockets and the long-trusted partnering program with creators to continue growing Shorts.

The YouTube logo seen on a screen | Getty Images | Photo by Chris McGrath
The YouTube logo seen on a screen | Getty Images | Photo by Chris McGrath

YouTube’s Strategy to Beat Reels and TikTok

YouTube has heavily invested in its Shorts program and to initially promote the format, it incentivized creators to create 60-second videos with the YouTube Shorts Fund.


After this, last year, YouTube announced that it is lowering the bar for creators to make money by removing the requirement of 1,000 subscribers for short-form content monetization.

On the other hand, TikTok took heat from some creators last year for changing its rules around how it pays creators for their content.

While Shorts struggled to stand out initially, it now has over a quarter of the 3 million creators in its YouTube Partner Program are earning money on Shorts. Furthermore, as per the blog, YouTube Shorts now has an average of over 70 billion daily views.


Concerns Over YouTube’s Short Form Content Strategy

Last year, a few senior YouTube staffers expressed their concerns over the TikTokification of YouTube. In a Financial Times report, the staff reportedly said they are worried that Shorts, may eat away at its long-form content, which has for almost two decades been its primary bread and butter.

Revenue Battle Between Meta, Google, and TikTok

Last year in July Meta said that Reels was set to bring in $10 billion in annual advertising revenue, a number that matches TikTok’s market. As per data shared by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a conference call, Reels' annual revenue run rate jumped to $10 billion, up from around $3 billion as of last fall.


Thus, Reels is about the size of TikTok's business as the latter pulled $9.9 billion in worldwide ad revenue last year, according to estimates from research firm Insider Intelligence.

Meanwhile, YouTube, which brought in over $31 billion in total ad revenue from across the platform last year, has not shared specific sales numbers for Shorts, CNN reported.

TikTok’s Shot at YouTube’s Core

While YouTube is trying to topple TikTok’s supremacy in short-form content, TikTok is also trying to go after what’s dearest to YouTube, long format content. TikTok is reportedly testing a new feature that allows created to upload videos of up to 30 minutes in length. This shift from its signature short-form content puts TikTok in direct competition with YouTube.


However, the possibility of a TikTok ban in the U.S. seems to give an automatic edge to YouTube. Both Meta and YouTube are set to benefit from the bill that could force TikTok’s parent company Byte Dance to sell its business in the US to a local investor.