YouTube Shorts Watched By Over 1.5 Billion Logged-In Users A Month; Company Cites Rise Of “Multiplatform Creator”

YouTube said today that more than 1.5 billion logged-in users are watching YouTube Shorts every month as it moves to cement its role as rival to short-form juggernaut TikTok.

Google’s YouTube launched Shorts in late 2020 to compete with the ubiquitous social media platform owned by ByteDance of China. TikTok, which saw its global popularity explode during the pandemic, had announced 1 billion monthly users in September of 2021, the last official data available, but was forecast to hit 1.5 billion this year, according to press reports.

To accelerate growth, YouTube has been adding new features to Shorts and offering creators rich cash bonuses including a $100 million fund for popular videos. It’s touting Shorts as a way to drive viewers to long-form video channels. And it’s stressing that it now caters to viewers across the spectrum of both short-form and more traditional longer-form content, leading to the “rise of the multiplatform creator. Its announcement Wednesday highlighted “interplay between Longform, Shorts, Live and Audio.”

YouTube also notes that having Shorts in the mix increases total viewing on the platform. “Uploading both Shorts and long-form are seeing better overall watch time and subscriber growth relative to those only uploading long-form,” it said.

Meanwhile, TikTok video runtimes have expanded to offer more flexibility as well and can now reach up to ten minutes.

Tara Walpert Levy, YouTube’s VP of the Americas, called creators “at the center of all we do.”

“Through innovations in Shorts, Live and Podcasting, we’re now able to provide a one-stop-shop experience for creators to truly flex their creative muscles, build audiences, and make money. By shifting to a multiformat approach, these creators are building unrivaled content strategies specific to their individual channels — while changing the larger content game and driving the creator ecosystem forward.”

She said longform content is still “the best way for creators to deeply engage and develop long term relationships with their audiences. But Shorts offer an exciting, new way to be a part of a viewer’s journey and to introduce themselves and their whole portfolio to new audiences. This approach is yielding real results; channels uploading both short and long-form content are seeing better overall watch time and subscriber growth than those uploading only one format.”

Shorts was announced in September of 2020. It launched in beta in India first then in the U.S. in March of 2021. “Every year, increasing numbers of people come to YouTube to launch their own channel,” chief product officer Neal Mohan said then. “But we know there’s still a huge amount of people who find the bar for creation too high.” Shorts “lets creators and artists shoot snappy videos with nothing but their mobile phones.”

Today, he said that, “While we’re still at the beginning of our journey with Shorts, we know the product will continue to be an integral part of the YouTube experience moving forward.”

Facebook-owned Instagram also launched its own short-form platform, Reels.

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