In recent years, YouTube has repeatedly said and shown that short-form video is a big priority. A new report reveals that there are internal concerns about YouTube Shorts cannibalizing the core long-form video business.
According to the Financial Times, senior YouTube staff at recent strategy meetings has “discussed the risk that long-form videos, which produce more revenue for the company, are ‘dying out’ as a format.” Internal data shows Creators “making fewer long-form videos — driven by a lack of consumer appetite.”
This shift impacts ad revenue, with longer videos allowing for more advertising and a “higher click-through rate on adverts to e-commerce sites.” Like viewers, advertisers are also favoring short-form content when commissioning product placements.
It comes as YouTube has reported drops in ad revenue for three of the last four quarters, though there was an uptick in the most recent earnings. The site has started cracking down on ad blockers, while YouTube Premium saw a price increase in the US.
For its part:
YouTube said Shorts was “designed to complement, not compete with, all the other formats creators use” on the platform, such as audio and livestreams.
From a product perspective, there is a frequent drop of new features for YouTube Shorts, especially on the Creator tools side, but the long-form experience hasn’t necessarily been neglected. Similarly, the company is advancing and diversifying on other fronts like subscriptions (YouTube TV’s NFL Sunday Ticket) and podcasts, which are definitely longer than the average video but can be played in the background and require less attention.
Ultimately, the consumer preference for short-form video is clear, with even YouTube Music getting in on the action (Samples) sans user-generated content. YouTube had to embrace the format or lose out to TikTok and Instagram Reels, but we’re now starting to see the long-term impact of the behavioral shift.
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