YouTube wants to quickly increase the number of short “shorts” videos available on its platform to better compete with TikTok. To support this effort, the company is today launching a new creator tool that quickly converts existing YouTube videos into short films. The update, now available in the YouTube mobile app, allows the creator of a video to easily select a segment of a previously uploaded video and then publish that clip as YouTube Shorts content.
The company was already converting user-uploaded vertical videos under 60 seconds into shorts videos, even if the content was originally uploaded as a standard YouTube video. (We should note that not all creators were fans of this idea.) Now, YouTube is hoping that with the launch of this new tool that lets them cut interesting bits out of their longer videos, creators will be more active in contributing to the shorts library to expand even further.
The move could signal how concerned YouTube parent Google is, in short, about TikTok’s dominance. It clearly doesn’t think that growing the YouTube Shorts library organically by uploading new, original content is enough to keep up. Instead, YouTube has relied on leveraging its existing long-form content to create more short films. For example, in April of this year, YouTube announced that any public YouTube video could be “remixed” into YouTube shorts unless the creators opted out.
The new tool meanwhile puts at least part of the power back into the hands of the developers.
The updated mobile app allows creators to select a portion of their video, up to 60 seconds long, and turn it into short film content using the same editing tools they’re familiar with in the app, the company says. If their selection is less than 60 seconds, they can record more videos with the shorts cam or add gallery videos to complete their 60 second shorts content.
YouTubers might be motivated to use the tool to generate interest in their long-form content, as YouTube notes that short films created with VOD (video-on-demand) content are automatically linked to the original.
YouTube has touted Shorts’ ability to drive views to creators’ long-form content as part of a trend it calls “the rise of the multi-format creator.” In June, the company announced that Shorts had surpassed 1.5 billion registered monthly users, but there is only anecdotal data suggesting that Shorts are helping to boost critical metrics like watch time or subscribers.
Meanwhile, the fact that YouTube is leaning so heavily on its existing long-form content to build shorts suggests a possible lack of interest from creators in filming original shorts. or it could also mean that YouTube ultimately still sees more potential as a long-form platform — but it envisages shorts as a marketing mechanism to drive views for its better monetized content.
The new short film creation feature will be rolling out in the YouTube mobile app for iOS and Android devices starting today, the company said.