YouTube Shorts, a feature that lets content creators produce bite-sized video content, is currently in beta in India. YouTube has announced that the beta will now expand in to the US from March.
What Are YouTube Shorts?
Put simply, YouTube Shorts is YouTube’s response to the never-ending domination of the short-form video platform TikTok.
YouTube Shorts is designed for creators who want to shoot quick videos using nothing but their mobile phones.
The videos last 15 seconds or less and can be easily created by stringing multiple clips together, and you can adjust the playback speed within the editor. You can also record your own music or add from a library.
A beta version of YouTube Shorts launched in India in September 2020 and the feature has continually evolved since then.
When YouTube first announced Shorts on the YouTube blog, it claimed that user-generated short videos were born on YouTube, since the first video on the platform (“Me at the zoo”) was only 18 seconds long.
While that might be true, that was more due to technological limitations than anything else. Device storage was slim and internet speeds were slower, for a start.
Over time, YouTube has expanded to prioritize long-form content. Content creators receive better monetization from longer videos. It seems YouTube has decided that if it can’t beat TikTok, it might as well join it.
YouTube Shorts Are Coming to the US
As announced on the YouTube blog, YouTube will be rolling out the Shorts beta to the US in the coming weeks.
The beta will “begin expanding” in March, so it’s unclear how long it’ll take or whether every user in the US will eventually be included.
According to YouTube, the number of Indian channels using the Shorts creation tools has tripled since December 2020, and the Shorts player currently receives more than 3.5 billion daily global views.
“We know there’s still a huge amount of people who find the bar for creation too high,” writes Neal Mohan, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer. YouTube hopes that the demand for Shorts in India will be matched or exceeded in the US.
Can YouTube Shorts Disrupt TikTok?
It’s clear that there’s demand for YouTube Shorts, and that’ll likely continue as it rolls out in the US, but whether the feature can dethrone TikTok remains to be seen.
While the functionality might be similar, TikTok generally skews towards a lower age range than YouTube, so the two will likely co-exist happily—much like how Instagram Reels does now.