By Vika SN
YouTube is extending its bite-sized video feature Shorts to the television screen across the world, the Google-owned video sharing platform announced on November 8 as it looks to counter growing competition from rivals such as Meta and TikTok across the world.
The company said this feature will be rolled out over the coming weeks to smart television models, game consoles, and streaming devices made in 2019 or later. Users will be able to play these short videos from the new Shorts shelf on the homepage of the YouTube app or on a creator's channel page.
One can also interact with them by liking or disliking videos, reading the titles and descriptions of these videos, and subscribing to creators' channels after watching their short videos.
"While this may seem like a natural next step, an incredible amount of thought and care has gone into bringing this vertical, mobile-first experience to the big screen," said YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan in a blogpost.
In the blogpost, YouTube executives also detailed the planning process and various design experiments they did while bringing this video format to the big screen, since Shorts is largely designed for mobile screens. "It was important that the Shorts experience on TV felt consistent with what the community sees on mobile and also natural on the bigger screen," the company said.
Among the experiments were YouTube's conventional video player, a “Jukebox” style player that will have multiple Shorts at the same time or a customised player that fills up the blank spaces on either side of the video. The company found that the Jukebox style strayed too far from the essence of Shorts that features one video at a time while the short videos didn't look good in the conventional player.
YouTube stated that it also found an unusual behaviour with the viewing experience of short-form video on television: People wanted to manually move to the next short video rather than have the feed autoplay, unlike the typical leanback experience one witnesses with TV viewing.
Hence, the app now allows users to start or stop the video through the remote by clicking directly on the short video, or by using the play/pause buttons. The video will continue to play on loop until the user manually moves to the next video. One can use the up and down buttons on the remote to move to the next video or return to the previous video.
This rollout will likely expand the reach of short videos and provide YouTube with an edge over its rivals in attracting new creators while retaining existing ones on its platform, at a time when the consumption of short video is witnessing significant growth across the world.
First introduced in India in September 2020, YouTube Shorts claims to be currently watched by over 1.5 billion logged-in users across over 100 countries every month and generating over 30 billion views on a daily basis.
This announcement also comes a few months after YouTube announced that it will start sharing advertising revenues with Shorts creators from early 2023. This move is part of major changes the company is rolling out to its YouTube Partner Program, enabling Shorts creators to apply and make money through different formats on the platform.
Shorts-focused creators will be able to join the programme if they have 1,000 subscribers and at least 10 million views on their short videos over 90 days. The existing programme currently requires YouTubers to have over 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over the past year.
YouTube will run ads between videos in the Shorts feed and these ads will not be attached to specific videos. Every month, revenue from these ads will be pooled together to pay out Shorts creators as well as help cover the costs of music licensing.
From the overall amount allocated for creators, YouTube will allow creators to keep 45 percent of the revenue share, which will be distributed based on the number of views the Shorts get in each country. Revenue share will remain the same even if creators use music in their short videos.
"As YouTube continues to make it easier to interact on TV, the richness of the Shorts experience will only grow. Bringing Shorts to TV is a great bridge to bring two of our most important experiences together to benefit both creators and viewers," the company said in the blogpost.
It's worth noting that TikTok has also rolled out its own television app across various platforms including Google TV and Amazon Fire TV in select markets. The Bytedance-owned app was, however, suspended in India in June 2020.
This story first appeared on Moneycontrol