TikTok is rolling out longer videos

Allowing longer TikTok videos gives users an option that is available on rival platforms such as Facebook

Reuters July 06, 2021

Ever wondered how Chowder the bulldog learned how to skateboard?

Explaining it in a TikTok video that was less than a minute long could be challenging. But on Thursday, TikTok said it would triple the length of time for videos on its platform to up to three minutes, providing video creators more runway.

Chowder's mom was among a group of creators to test out the longer-form video feature months before Thursday's announcement. Her tips were revealed in a roughly 2.5-minute video – Chowder trains in empty parking lots with no easy access to the street and learned how to ride a skateboard on flat areas first.

The changes come after creators had told TikTok they would like more time per video segment to add to their cooking demos, beauty tutorials, educational videos and comedic sketches, wrote Drew Kirchhoff, a TikTok product manager on the company's website.

"With longer videos, creators will have the canvas to create new or expanded types of content on TikTok, with the flexibility of a bit more space," Kirchhoff wrote.

TikTok, at first known for 15-second videos, received a huge boost in popularity during the pandemic as people sheltered at home looked to the viral video app to entertain themselves.

The app has been a vehicle for up-and-coming artists to be discovered, as a way to educate others and for brands to resonate with younger audiences. Last year, TikTok moved into a larger US office in Culver City, California, and said it had 100 million users in the U.S.

But TikTok isn't the only app that Los Angeles creators are using. Last year, the app's China-based parent company ByteDance was threatened with a potential app ban by the Trump administration due to concerns about whether TikTok would give US user information to the Chinese government. TikTok disputed the claims.

The app was never banned in the US, but some creators fearful of losing their audiences on TikTok looked to expand their audiences on rival platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

Extending the length of time of TikTok videos to a maximum of three minutes gives users a longer option that is available on rival platforms such as Facebook.

"This is about better storytelling," said Ray Wang, a principal analyst at Palo Alto, California-based Constellation Research. "You were really limited before. People want to share things in depth."

YouTube and Facebook-owned Instagram have also tried to compete with TikTok by offering their own options for short-form videos called Shorts and Reels.

TikTok has removed nearly 6.5 million videos from Pakistan

Already, some TikTok users have uploaded longer-form videos, including one that explains the story of Mary Jane Richards, a Black spy who posed as a slave to spy on Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis and a video that goes into the steps of making Brazilian chicken croquettes, coxinha. The option to make up to three-minute videos will be rolled out to all TikTok users over the coming weeks, the company said.

Advertisers may also like the longer format because it gives them more time to get their message across, analysts said.

"The longer the video, the more time people are on the page," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst of Bend, Ore.-based advisory services firm Enderle Group. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service


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