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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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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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Meta Announces WhatsApp Cloud API to Provide Hosting Support for SMBs

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Meta Announces WhatsApp Cloud API to Provide Hosting Support for SMBs

After previewing the option back in 2020, today, at its first-ever ‘Conversations’ messaging conference, Meta has announced that it’s launching the WhatsApp Cloud API, which will provide free, secure cloud hosting services for businesses.

As it sounds, the WhatsApp Cloud API will essentially host your conversation data on Meta’s servers, which will improve connection and speed, but will come with a degree of privacy trade-off.

The main benefits will be improved speed in messaging response, while it’ll also help to eliminate server expenses, which could be a big benefit to smaller businesses, in particular. It’ll also facilitate faster access to new WhatsApp business features as they become available.

The downside is that it will mean more reliance on Meta, while you’ll also need to dilute WhatsApp’s messaging security measures:

As Meta described in its original announcement:

If a business chooses to use a third-party vendor to operate the WhatsApp Business API on their behalf, we do not consider that to be end-to-end encrypted since the business you are messaging has chosen to give a third-party vendor access to those messages. This will also be the case if that third-party vendor is Facebook.”

As such, WhatsApp will include new notifications on consumer-to-business exchanges conducted through Meta hosting.

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How you feel about such trade-offs will come down to your personal perspective, but the offering could be highly valuable for smaller businesses looking to build out their tech stack, without having to sign on to a third-party hosting vendor, or buy their own hardware.

But again, that does also mean increasing your reliance on Meta, which has notoriously changed the rules on businesses in the past, leaving many in the lurch.

See also  YouTube Adds New Connected TV Capabilities

The real benefit, however, will likely be in developing regions, where WhatsApp is the dominant messaging platform, and many small businesses are looking for ways to maximize their reach and transactions in-app. If Meta can assist them in building their business, that could be a big step in making WhatsApp a more critical utility, for many more users, while also, eventually, providing a direct revenue pathway for the messaging platform.

Though it does feel like a bit of a honey trap. Meta has already flagged that it will eventually introduce charges for these additional elements, without specifically outlining what those costs will be. Once businesses are reliant on such, it’ll be too late to back out, and Meta could ensnare them via incremental increases, that may eventually become a big earner for the company.

On another front, Meta also announced Recurring Notifications on Messenger, which will enable businesses to re-engage people within a messaging thread. The feature is only available to premium users at present, which doesn’t cost more to be part of right now, but will in future as Meta looks to incorporate new charges for its messaging and hosting tools.

You can check out replays of the Conversations conference presentations here.

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