YouTube has announced the launch of Shorts.
Shorts are videos with a maximum length of 15 seconds.
This product has been likened to TikTok.
Interestingly this feature has been launched in beta in India.
Interesting because India’s government banned TikTok in June following clashes between the Indian and Chinese armies in border regions on the Himalayas.
The ban has left a massive hole in the digital arena in India.
YouTube describes Shorts as “a new short-form video experience right on YouTube for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.”
The scant details provided make Shorts sound a lot like Musical.ly, the first iteration of TikTok.
Creators will be able to use music clips, string multiple clips together and speed controls to aid creativity.
Less than the current offering from TikTok but it’s a first iteration.
YouTube is selling the idea of creating Shorts thanks to its 2 billion people reach.
TikTok is renowned for its algorithm.
The magic sauce that has contributed to a lot of its success.
YouTube is one of the platforms well placed to replicate these achievements.
It already has a very sophisticated suggestion algorithm built on billions of views by billions of users.
One issue, in my opinion, is that short videos is all that TikTok does.
The user uses the app for one reason.
This is an advantage that YouTube does not have.
How YouTube integrates Shorts into the users’ experience remains to be seen.
Also, will Shorts displace or take away time from other YouTube content?
In the very short term, if TikTok gets banned from the US, YouTube will have a very strong incentive to accelerate the deployment of Shorts in order to capture users suddenly starved of 15 seconds videos.