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TikTok videos get longer in challenge to YouTube

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TikTok is more than tripling the top length of shared videos to 10 minutes in a growing challenge to YouTube.

TikTok is more than tripling the top length of shared videos to 10 minutes in a growing challenge to YouTube. – Copyright AFP/File Kazuhiro NOGI

TikTok on Monday began letting users upload videos as long as 10 minutes, ramping up the young platform’s challenge to veteran titan YouTube.

TikTok, owned by ByteDance in China, launched with a one-minute limit on uploaded videos, but bumped the cap to three minutes last year.

“Today we are happy to start rolling out the ability to upload videos up to 10 minutes long,” TikTok said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“We hope this will further stimulate the creativity of our creators around the world.”

TikTok more than tripling the length of videos comes as YouTube and Facebook-parent Meta strive to counter the rival with short-form content options and incentives to creators whose posts draw audiences.

“YouTube is still ahead of TikTok in terms of time spent, but its not immune to the ‘TikTok effect’,” Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg told AFP.

“The gap in time spent between the two platforms is narrow, and longer videos could help TikTok catch up in terms of both eyeballs and engagement.”

Longer videos could also enable TikTok creators make more money and boost the platforms advertising business, the analyst added.

YouTube recently laid out goals for this year that included making the lives of creators easier and boosting a popular format that rivals TikTok.

The video-sharing platform is investing in short-form and live video, along with tools to help creators make money and produce fresh content, according to chief product officer Neal Mohan.

“YouTube creators are the heart and soul of the platform,” Mohan said in a blog post.

“To give them every opportunity possible, we’ll continue to invest across our multiple formats.”

Short-form content like the video snippets that are a winning ingredient at TikTok are incredibly popular. YouTube’s take on the concept, called “Shorts,” has logged more than five trillion all-time views, according to Mohan.

Short videos, typically made using smartphones, can be as long as 60 seconds, with music and comedy as popular themes.

Facebook and Instagram parent Meta has its own spin on the offering called Reels, which chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said is a priority for the tech firm and growing fast.


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Pitfalls of the Social Media Advertising Model

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Pitfalls of the Social Media Advertising Model

Paul Romer, Nobel Prize-winning economist and Boston College Professor of Finance takes us through social media’s advertising model and the ethical …

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Reddit Shares Performance Data and Growth Strategy Ahead of Coming IPO

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Reddit Shares Performance Data and Growth Strategy Ahead of Coming IPO

Reddit’s IPO is almost here, with the company filing its S-1 registration with the SEC today, which outlines its current finances and strategic goals, ahead of the pending listing.

And there are some interesting notes in the data provided.

First off, Reddit, which will soon be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “RDDT”, claims that it has over 73 million daily active users, and 500 million monthly visitors.

Which is a highly unusual split of daily to monthly active usage.

In general, most social platforms see a 1:1.8 ratio of daily/monthly users, with some variance. Facebook, for example, has 2.11b DAU and 3.07b MAU (x1.45), while Snapchat has 414m DAU/800m MAU (x1.9).

Reddit claims to have a variation of x6.8 DAU to MAU, which is way out of proportion for those averages.

Could that be correct? Could Reddit be seeing a heap more visitors who don’t come back to the site daily?

I mean, I guess, when you factor in people who might be using Reddit to supplement their Google searches, so may visit infrequently. But it’s not exactly a great endorsement of the magnetism of its product if the vast majority of people who look at the app are not interested in coming back regularly.

Reddit reported reaching 430 million monthly actives back in 2019, then switched to sharing daily active user counts from 2020 onwards (it had 52m DAU then). My assumption was that Reddit made this switch because it lost users as a result of changes to its rules, which led to the expulsion of thousands of its most controversial communities. But Reddit’s data here suggests that it hasn’t necessarily lost ground, it just opted for an alternative reporting method. Though it does seem odd.

The documentation also provides a narrative overview of the platform, which it refers to as “a digital city.”

As per Reddit’s S-1:

Reddit is a global, digital city where anyone in the world can join a community to learn from one another, engage in authentic conversations, explore passions, research new hobbies, exchange goods and services, create new communities and experiences, share a few laughs, and find belonging. People are diverse and have multiple interests. Just like in a city, where citizens are part of multiple subcommunities, on Reddit, users often belong to multiple communities.”

“Exchange goods and services?” Not sure what that refers to exactly, but…

Reddit also refers to its “constantly evolving human archive of information”, which it recently sold to Google for $60 million per year.

Which is also interesting when you consider this listing:

Reddit IPO

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman owns 8.7% of the current Reddit shares, which gives him significant sway in the company’s decisions, and it’d be interesting to know what Altman thinks about Reddit selling its user data to Google for use in its competing AI applications.

Presumably he’s okay with it. Which seems unusual in itself.

On specific subreddit usage, Reddit says that:

  • Over 500 subreddits have at least a million subscribers
  • The average active minutes for logged-in users on Reddit is around 20 minutes per day, though that increases to over 35 minutes a day for those who’ve been active on the platform for over five years, and up to 45 minutes a day for those who’ve been active for over seven years.
  • 85% of Redditors say that the platform is “where they learn about the topics they love the most”, while 83% say that conversations on Reddit are more on-topic than any other social media platform

In terms of revenue, Reddit says that it generated $804 million in revenue in 2023, an increase of 21% year-over-year.

Reddit believes that it has significant opportunity to increase its intake in the coming years, particularly due to its current revenue split, which shows that it’s heavily reliant on US users.

Here’s Reddit’s current Average Revenue Per User charts:

Reddit IPO

Reddit’s audience is split almost 50/50 between the U.S. and everywhere else, and as Reddit expands its ad business, that should facilitate more monetization opportunities in other regions.

Reddit also says that it’s exploring new technological developments to enable more ways for customers to invest to grow their business.

Then there’s the Google data-sharing deal:

“We are also in the early stages of monetizing our emerging opportunity in data licensing by allowing third parties to access, search, and analyze data on our platform. In January 2024, we entered into certain data licensing arrangements with an aggregate contract value of $203.0 million and terms ranging from two to three years. We expect a minimum of $66.4 million of revenue to be recognized during the year ending December 31, 2024.”

So Reddit does have some additional avenues of monetization, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Google partnership plays out, and whether that helps to expand Reddit’s exposure and traffic as a result.

Reddit hasn’t provided an overview of the number of shares that it’s looking to offer at this stage, though it has included a plan to offer shares to its power users within its S-1 listing:

We will invite users and moderators to participate in the directed share program in six phased priority tiers. We will assign each eligible participant to a tier based on that participant’s contributions to Reddit. User contributions will be measured in karma (a user’s reputation score that reflects their community contributions). Moderator contributions will be measured by membership and moderator actions on our platform. Tier 1 will include certain users and moderators identified by us who have meaningfully contributed to Reddit community programs. Tier 2 will include users who hold at least 200,000 karma and moderators who have performed at least 5,000 moderator actions. Tier 3 will include users who hold at least 100,000 karma and moderators who have performed at least 2,500 moderator actions. Tier 4 will include users who hold at least 50,000 karma and moderators who have performed at least 1,000 moderator actions. Tier 5 will include users who hold at least 25,000 karma and moderators who have performed at least 500 moderator actions. Tier 6 will include all other eligible users and moderators.

That’s an interesting approach to get more user buy-in, and for a platform that is still reliant on volunteer labor for its moderation and management, that could be a critical assurance move.

Reddit does note that it’s seeking a $5 billion market capitalization valuation, dependent on various factors, with more details to come closer to the listing.

Which is a high price tag for an app with questionable value, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility, and it could be where Reddit ends up when the next stage is announced.

Reddit’s initial public offering be launched after the SEC completes its review process, which is now well in motion, and set for next month.

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Florida lawmakers push to ban social media for children under 16

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Vietnam plans to ask all social media users on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to verify their identities

Social media. — © AFP/File Olivier DOULIERY

Florida moved Thursday towards enacting what would be one of the strictest bans on children’s use of social media in the United States after the state Senate passed a bill to keep those under 16 off such platforms.

The controversial bill seeks to protect children’s mental health against the “addictive features” of such platforms, amid fears over online dangers including from sexual predators, cyber bullying and teen suicide.

The legislation, which was approved 23-14, will now go back to the state House. It has already passed there, with the House speaker championing the legislation, but changes made in the Senate need to be approved in the lower chamber.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed concerns over whether banning social media for children under the age of 16 violates parents’ rights – Copyright AFP Philip FONG

It would then have to be signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who has expressed skepticism about the legislation. Similar efforts by other states have previously been blocked by courts.

“We’re talking about businesses that are using addictive features to engage in mass manipulation of our children to cause them harm,” the bill’s sponsor, Republican Erin Grall, told the Florida Senate on Thursday.

But DeSantis, who has previously said he is sympathetic to fears over the impact of social media on children, voiced concerns about parental rights.

“A parent has the right to opt in,” he told a press conference Thursday.

The governor has argued many times that parents should have more control over decisions affecting their children, particularly in education.

Under DeSantis Florida has passed laws to curtail teaching about sex education and gender identity in schools and to eradicate diversity programs in state-funded universities.

Scores of books have been removed from the state’s school library shelves in recent months, deemed inappropriate for children by conservative parents and school boards.

Some critics say such a law targeting social media use would violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.

Last year a federal judge blocked an Arkansas initiative that sought to require parental consent to open a social media account.

Most social media networks already have a minimum age of 13 to open an account, though they do little to ensure compliance with the provision.

If the regulation is approved, the platforms will have to block children under the age of 16 from creating accounts and close those already opened.

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