YouTube executives are expressing concerns about the rising popularity of ‘shorts’ on the platform. These short vertical videos, akin to TikTok’s format, have garnered over 2 billion views from registered users on the app each month, as detailed by YouTube in early August.
The apprehension among some high-ranking YouTube officials stems from the belief that ‘shorts’ pose a potential risk to the platform’s long-form videos, which have historically been its primary revenue generator and audience draw. Recent trends indicate that viewership of long-form content is being eclipsed by the surge in popularity of short, snappy ‘shorts’ content.
According to insiders familiar with YouTube’s discussions, the platform has started to deliberate the risks associated with the possibility that the growing popularity of ‘shorts’ could cannibalize the viewership of long-form videos, which yield higher advertising revenues.
Some executives have even gone as far as to express concerns that traditional videos may be “dying” as consumers increasingly prefer ‘shorts’ content. This shift is partly driven by the presence of similar content formats on other social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram’s ‘reels.’ Notably, these formats, characterized by short, vertical videos, can be simultaneously posted across various social media networks, making them more ubiquitous among users.
In addition to a decline in viewership, YouTube personnel have also noted a decrease in the production of long-form content by creators. This phenomenon can be attributed to advertisers showing a greater preference for short-form content, as it aligns better with current consumer trends.
The shift towards ‘shorts’ has implications for advertising revenue as long-form videos can accommodate more advertisements within a single upload. Furthermore, sources have indicated that long-form videos tend to garner more clicks on e-commerce website ads.
However, YouTube has clarified its stance on ‘shorts,’ stating that the format was “designed to complement” rather than “compete with all other formats used by creators.” The company views ‘shorts’ as a means to enrich the platform, much like audio or live streams, and has expressed satisfaction with its initial success. YouTube maintains that this is not a zero-sum game.
It remains to be seen how YouTube will address these concerns and whether it will make any adjustments to its strategy in response to the growing popularity of ‘shorts’ on the platform. As user preferences continue to evolve, the balance between long-form and short-form content may hold the key to the platform’s future success and profitability.