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

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

Baku, May 17, AZERTAC

TikTok is giving some users the option to upload 60-minute videos to the platform. According to the Business Insider, that could spell trouble for YouTube and streaming giants.

The pilot was first publicly spotted by tech newsletter writer Matt Navarra. TikTok confirmed the feature to TechCrunch on Thursday.

It is unclear what regions the update is available in, and if and when it will be accessible to more users. The company told TechCrunch it does not immediately plan to roll out the 60-minute upload function widely.

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 only allowed creators to post 60-second videos. The limit is now 10 minutes for all users, and 15 for some creators. TikTok competitors Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts offer similar upload lengths.

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

YouTube beats TikTok in terms of overall users in the US. More than 80% of US adults told Pew Research Center last year that they had ever used YouTube, while 33% had used TikTok. The short-form platform's users skew young: 62% of 18- to 29-year-olds told Pew they use TikTok, and 93% of users in the same age bracket use YouTube.

But TikTok is ahead of YouTube by minutes watched: Last year, Business Insider sister company eMarketer predicted that in 2024, adult TikTok users would average 55 minutes per 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," 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 are encouraging employees who sell ads to capitalize on the possibility of a US TikTok ban by having "thoughtful conversation" with clients about the ban.

TikTok did not immediately respond for BI's request for comment.

The longer video feature may also threaten 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, 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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