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TikTok is trialling 60-minute videos | Image: Aaron Weiss

TikTok is Testing 60-Minute Videos. What Does This Mean for YouTube?

The bite-sized content king, TikTok, is setting its sights on YouTube’s turf. To shake up the video landscape, TikTok is currently testing long-form content with a pilot program allowing uploads of up to 60 minutes for select creators. The new venture was first brought to light by social-media analyst Matt Navarra, who revealed that on Meta’s Threads app the feature will allow creators to upload up to 60-minute-long videos via both the mobile app and desktop.

TikTok later confirmed the existence of the 60-minute video feature to TechCrunch but remained tight-lipped about details on rollout specifics, including regions or wider user availability. The company told the publication that it is in no rush to make the feature publically available, as it is currently still in the early stages and is being tested by a handful of users in select markets.

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TikTok is now testing 60-minute videos upload for a select set of users as spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra | Image: Matt Navarra / Threads
TikTok is now testing 60-minute videos upload for a select set of users as spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra | Image: Matt Navarra / Threads

Long-Form TikTok Content

It’s not the first time TikTok has experimented with video lengths. Initially, in 2018, users were allowed only to record 15-second videos and upload one-minute clips, which was later increased to three minutes in 2021 and further extended to 10 minutes that same year. In January this year, TikTok started testing 30-minute video uploads, moving towards longer content. Now, with the new 60-minute video feature being tested, TikTok could up the ante, taking on both YouTube’s long-form content and even the big streaming services.

The ByteDance-owned short video platform also told TechCrunch that creators often ask for more time for content like “cooking demos, beauty tutorials, educational lesson plans, comedic sketches, and more.” While creators can create and upload multipart stories by directing viewers to the next part, many want more flexibility. So, TikTok is upping the video time limit to let creators experiment with longer content. This will definitely put TikTok in direct competition with YouTube, as the new 60-minute video feature could tempt creators to post their videos on TikTok as well.

TikTok is trialling 60-minute videos | Image: Solen Feyissa
TikTok is trialling 60-minute videos | Image: Solen Feyissa

The Rise of TikTok Series

Besides YouTube, TikTok’s new 60-minute video feature could open the door for a whole new type of content on the platform—full-fledged TV show episodes. This could disrupt traditional streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and others in a few ways. For one, TikTok’s algorithm is really good at showing you stuff you’ll like, which might pull viewers away from scrolling through menus on other platforms. Also, TikTok has a massive user base, so a lot of people might decide to watch full episodes there instead of signing up and paying for other streaming services.

Already, there are tons of short clips from popular TV shows and movies that people binge on and now that the company is testing out longer videos, binge-watching TV shows on TikTok could become a regular thing. Even TV networks are slowly starting to hop on board. Last year, Peacock split the pilot episode of its comedy show ‘Killing It‘ into five parts on TikTok, and it got over a million views. Clearly, TikTok’s audience digs it. If TikTok lets you watch full episodes all at once, it could totally change how people watch TV, with more viewers moving from traditional streaming to TikTok.

That said, it’s still early days and there’s a lot we don’t know about TikTok’s 60-minute video feature, including if or when TikTok plans to make the 60-minute video upload option widely available.