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TikTok's Testing 30-Minute Videos: Is Short-Video Era Over?

Photo by Nik / Unsplash

Updated: January 30

YouTube is trying to be TikTok with its Shorts inroduction, while TikTok, once synonymous with short-form content, appears to be embracing the allure of longer videos with the testing of 30-minute clips.

In February 2022, TikTok already began its transition towards lengthy videos and introduced 10-minute clips, then extended the length to 15 minutes in October 2023. This move marked a departure from its initial identity as a platform solely for short, binge-worthy videos.

Now, the video length is about to be increased to 30 minutes, as noted by social media consultant Matt Navarra on Threads.

Image credit: Matt Navarra's Threads account

What does this change mean? More time on the platform, more ads, more diverse content that isn't yet available. TikTok has chosen the path YouTube once chose, which is not surprising, considering that users make short reaction clips to full-length YouTube videos or even TV Shows. And the most interesting part is that users wait for the creators to upload the rest of the snippets to watch the full show on TikTok instead of watching the entire TV show elsewhere.

The recent updates from TikTok suggest a broader ambition for the platform—to be a home for diverse content. Initially being a lip-sync and dance videos app, TikTok is now shifting to music streaming and YouTube-like long-form content.

It seems like the era of short video content that contributed so much to the short attention span of a modern Internet user is coming to an end. So far, Instagram is the only warrior with its 90-second Reels.

Updated: As The Verge reports, TikTok incentivises creators "to start posting horizontal videos that are more than a minute long, according to a prompt seen by creators @candicedchap and @kenlyealtumbiz. The platform says it will “boost” these videos within 72 hours of posting. Creators who’ve been on TikTok for more than three months will be eligible for the viewership boost, as long as the videos are not ads or from political parties."

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