YouTube takes on TikTok, Instagram with short-form videos

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YouTube has introduced a beta version of YouTube Shorts in SA. The video-sharing company’s new short-form video platform helps users to create short, catchy videos from mobile phones.

First announced in September 2020, Shorts has since been expanded to 26 countries. It will now be available across more than 100 countries around the world, as the Alphabet-owned video social media company better positions itself to take on competitors TikTok and InstagramReels.

While short-form videos were already viewable on the platform, from tomorrow, users in SA will be able to access the Shorts creation tools for the first time. These include a multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together, the ability to record with music and control speed settings, according to YouTube.

“We want to make it easy and fun to create Shorts,” says Todd Sherman, global product manager for YouTube Shorts.

“As we continue to build Shorts alongside our creators and artists, we’ll be adding more features for users to try.”

YouTube has strengthened its partnership with content creators and brands, and has paid more than $30 billion to creators, artists and media companies in the last three years.

In May, the company announceda $100 million YouTube Shorts fund, noting it continuously looks at various ways to monetise Shorts and reward creators for their content.

The company claims a YouTube Shorts player has already surpassed 6.5 billion daily views globally.

According to analytics firm App Annie’s latest State of Mobile report, which tracks trends in consumer behaviour across mobile apps, TikTok surpasses YouTube in terms of time spent on the platform by Android users in the US and UK, as well as other key markets.

This means the video-sharing platform is in a position where it needs to innovate, to ensure users spend more time viewing videos, according to App Annie.

YouTube says Shorts will provide its users with the ability to sample audio, not only from other Shorts but also from videos across YouTube.

When it comes to music, artists and creators will have a large library of songs to use in their Shorts from over 250 labels and publishers around the world.

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