Shorts is a new short-form video experience that allows creators on YouTube shoot catchy videos with their mobile phones.
Chris Jaffe, Vice President at YouTube, made the announcement via the official blog on Monday, 14 September.
YouTube's venture into short-form, user generated videos did not come unexpected as there had been prior news of it. Coming only five weeks after Instagram launched it's own version named "Reels", the competition is heating up for embattled market leaders—TikTok.
TikTok is currently embroiled in a battle for survival in the United States following an executive order by Donald Trump to ban the application and it's parent company Bytedance from all activities in the country due to privacy concerns. The Chinese company recently entered a partnership with software giant, Oracle to avoid the sanctions.
Short-form, user-generated videos catapulted TikTok from a startup to one of the most-downloaded apps in the world with over 1 billion downloads in the less than three years and YouTube apparently wants some of that market.
It should be noted that despite TikTok’s recent and much-talked-about success, YouTube is still the leading video-streaming platform for Africans, accounting for 8% of social media traffic from the continent. Globally, the platform still hosts over 2 billion monthly users.
Similar to TikTok, YouTube shorts is expected to allow users make brief videos by taking advantage of the songs licensed on YouTube music. This might provide a significant advantage for Shorts as YouTube Music has one of the most extensive databases of licensed songs.
YouTube Shorts is scheduled to be beta tested in India—which banned TikTok and its parent company in June—over the next few weeks with a couple of features before it is rolled out to other countries.
According to the official statement from Chris Jaffe, "Shorts is a new short-form video experience right on YouTube for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones". The new product focuses on allowing users create video content that lasts 15 seconds or less.
The innovation from YouTube is expected to change the way creators on YouTube share content. It will allow them to include more variety in the way they generate and share content.