TikTok has enabled the ability to create videos that can last for up to 10 minutes, an increase from three and five minutes for different creators.
Over the last 18 months, the company has been testing different length videos that creators could publish, with a limit of five minutes that’s been in place since 2019.
However, some creators wanted TikTok to extend the length, to better compete with YouTube and Instagram Reels. Now that it’s here, though, one wonders if TikTok users want 10-minute videos to scroll through in their ‘For You’ feed.
Analysis: 10-minute videos may be a niche appeal
TikTok is a social platform where you scroll vertically to watch videos. While you can watch videos from users you follow, or another called ‘For You’ where TikTok’s algorithm curates new videos from creators you don’t follow, the app’s appeal is to watch short videos to pass the time.
10-minute videos may be a stretch. We’re getting perilously close to the range of a web movie or TV show. The 2003 series Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a good example here, where episodes could range between three and twelve minutes. To be fair, we rather enjoyed that series. With the new 10-minute-range, TikTok could start bringing more episodic series to the platform
In the near term, though, TikTok’s new competitor is clearly YouTube, a platform that’s already attracting some TikTok creators anxious for more time on the digital stage.
Longer videos on TikTok may help some creators in the topics they create, such as making pancakes, throwbacks to old TV shows, or a documentary on certain topics.
But 10-minute videos will require users to sit down and focus on what they’re watching, instead of mindlessly scrolling through. On the other hand, these longer videos are entirely optional. It’s possible that you won’t see 10-minute TikToks in your feed. You might also choose to help the algorithm filter them out for you by not pausing to watch any of them. After all, who has an hour to spare for TikTok?
As for TikTok, these extended videos are a sign that it wants some of its creators to cover topics that can only be explained in relatively long-form videos. Their success in that effort will depend on how users will respond to the change.
And as TikTok comes for YouTube, YouTube is coming for TikTok, too. YouTube has its own take on TikTok called Shorts, where creators can release shorter content, but it’s a feature still in its early stages.
While TikTok takes on the video giant, it’s also tackling its own monetary issues, making sure creators feel compensated so they don’t jump to the potentially more lucrative YouTube.
Essentially, TikTok’s faced with a multi-pronged effort to excite and keep active creators: longer videos for more creative freedom and new monetization efforts to match the creators’ extra effort with better revenue streams.
It’s only then that the company has a chance to go head to head with YouTube, but it also depends on whether more creators and users will jump ship to TikTok and its new 10-minute video opportunity.