YouTube’s long decline

Shorts cannibalizes YouTube’s audience

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The Future. YouTube’s push to compete with TikTok has made Shorts the new reigning champ of the Google-owned platform. But that push toward short-form glory has potentially put long-form video, the bread and butter of YouTube, on the back burner. While some inside the company would love to see a turnaround, Pandora’s Box may already be open — our modern penchant for bite-sized, mobile-first content that can be used across rival platforms may just be too culturally viral to pass up.

Snacks over meals
YouTube’s Shorts may be “cannibalizing” its classic long-form videos, say the company’s execs.

  • YouTube viewership is way up overall, thanks to Shorts surpassing 50 billion daily views.
  • But two-thirds of the most-watched channels mostly work in that format and aren’t really dabbling in longer videos.
  • Additionally, if those creators do make long-form videos, users aren’t checking them out anyway.
  • Long-form video uploads and viewership are so bad that “senior staff at YouTube” have held meetings about it, fearful the format is “dying out.”

While long-form videos have historically provided more advertising opportunities, creators have noted the tide has shifted towards Shorts. Brands are going where the viewership is — that just means creators need to upload a lot more videos to recoup the same revenue they did with longer content.

But maybe that shift doesn’t really bother top YouTube brass. According to YouTube VP of America Tara Walpert Levy, Shorts has allowed more people to become creators (long videos are a lot of work). The more, the merrier… but only if enough people can make a living from it.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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