YouTube has been talking up the growth of YouTube Shorts enthusiastically in recent times, but does that enthusiasm extend to all of its employees? Perhaps not, according to the Financial Times.
It claims that “senior staff at YouTube have expressed concern that Shorts… risks cannibalising its core business”. The report also alludes to internal strategy meetings discussing “the risk that long-form videos, which produce more revenue for the company, are ‘dying out’ as a format”.
This isn’t just about YouTube Shorts, of course: if long-form YouTube videos are being challenged, it’s by short-video more generally: TikTok, Reels and more.
In that sense, by pushing Shorts hard, YouTube is gambling that any short-term pain (in lost revenues) will lead to longer-term gains. Or at least, retaining its relevance as a video platform.
If you need more proof of the impact Shorts are having, check out online-video industry site Tubefilter’s latest chart of the top 100 channels (by views) on YouTube in August.
Top of the rankings is Indian channel KL BRO Biju Rithvik, which we hadn’t heard of until this moment. Shorts are apparently the reason for its swift ascent to 2.23bn monthly views.
YouTube has consistently argued that its strength is the full range of its video formats: Shorts, long-form videos and livestreams, and the ability to move viewers between them.
“We’ve been very pleased with its initial success. This is not a zero-sum game,” is how its spokesperson put this in the Financial Times piece.
That’s something enhanced by its latest announcement: the ability for creators to place links for any other video on their channel – long-form and live included – in their Shorts.
This is the bigger picture of YouTube as a platform now, although if the shorter vids become preeminent, figuring out the right ad formats for them will become an even more pressing challenge.