Short-form content is the money-maker at the moment, and with attention spans reducing, it would seem that short-form content would remain the king of social media. But that doesn’t seem to be the case as TikTok is allowing their users to upload videos up to 10 minutes long.
As TikTok has recently discovered, effective monetization of short-form video is very difficult, which is why they recently confirmed a new subscription service too.
Vine found out the difficulties of monetization the hard way. While that platform was very popular at one point and was the start for many now well-known stars, they could never work out how to generate significant revenue from Vine clips since they couldn’t insert pre or mid-roll ads into such short content. This, in turn, lead many of their biggest stars to leave the platform and lead to the platform shutting down.
TikTok has confirmed the full roll-out of the option to TechCrunch:
“We’re always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience. Last year, we introduced longer videos, giving our community more time to create and be entertained on TikTok. Today, we’re excited to start rolling out the ability to upload videos that are up to 10 minutes, which we hope would unleash even more creative possibilities for our creators around the world.”
TikTok is no stranger to increasing the time limit for videos on their platform. The original time limit per clip was 15 seconds, then 60 seconds, then 3 minutes, and last August was increased to 5 minutes.
This change to longer clips could have a big impact on how people consume content in the app, and in many ways, it’s a risky bet for TikTok as it goes against the grain of what the platform was originally designed.
Is this too much of a departure for the platform? That might not be the case. TikTok has already implemented longer live streams on the main feed, and those haven’t caused any engagement issues thus far, and the 5-minute videos have not caused a disruption either. So they do have some insight as to the potential impact of longer uploads on audience behavior.
It will be interesting to see whether there is an impact on user behavior and interest and whether TikTok can successfully extend user engagement in the app, which could lead to a much broader set of content and advertising options, which would keep their content creators happy.
And that is the real push here. Given the challenges presented with monetization in short-form content, it seemed inevitable that TikTok would eventually need to lean into longer-form uploads in order to provide more direct monetization potential for creators. YouTube is already trying to bring those that are unhappy with TikTok over with their TikTok-like “Shorts”, which is a supplementary content vehicle for its creators.
TikTok is already feeling the pressure. Last month, well-known TikTok creator, Hank Green, posted a video in which he outlined how TikTok’s creator funding models are flawed, and how it will likely lead to a creator revolt as they seek more revenue.
This may be the start of the next successful phase for TikTok, and it will be the things that propel it into the next stage of growth. But it might turn into another Vine. But only time will tell.