MORE FROM KrASIA

YouTube to soon roll out a TikTok-like app in India

YouTube will first test its short-video app ‘Shorts’ in India, its largest and fastest-growing market.

YouTube YouTube logo. Source: Shutterstock

American online video sharing platform YouTube is in process of rolling out a short-video application in India as it looks to tap the huge market left open by the ban on Chinese short-video app TikTok.

Dubbed as Shorts, it is a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to create short, 15 seconds or less, catchy videos “using nothing but their mobile phones,” the California-headquartered company said in a blogpost on Monday.

YouTube will first test its short-video app in India, its largest and fastest-growing market. Of the two billion monthly viewers globally, India contributes over 265  million monthly users to YouTube.

“Over the next few days in India, we’re launching an early beta of Shorts with a handful of new creation tools to test this out,” YouTube stated. “We’ll continue to add more features and expand to more countries in the coming months…”

YouTube Shorts also plans to feature hundreds of thousands of tracks from partners like T-Series and Believe Digital, while working with music artists, labels, and publishers to make their content available in YouTube Shorts’ catalog, according to a report by TechCrunch.

The Google-owned firm first announced in June that it had begun testing a new feature on mobile to allow users to record 15-second long multi-segment videos. With the roll out of Shorts, YouTube has joined a slew of US companies like Facebook, Snap, and Triller, and at least a dozen homegrown startups including Trell, Roposo, Moj, and Chingari to go after TikTok’s 200 million users in the South Asian nation who were left stranded after the Indian government banned TikTok citing cybersecurity concerns.

While Facebook launched Reels in early July, just a week after the ban on TikTok, Snap Inc was reportedly testing a TikTok-like feature on Snapchat. TikTok’s American rival Triller partnered with Reliance-owned JioSaavn in August to let users create Triller videos directly on the music streaming app.

“The ban on TikTok India has opened flood gates. Short videos was a segment where companies like Google and Facebook were sort of delayed. With strong content and virtually little competition from other established western players, TikTok had a free run for a while,” Sanjeev Kumar, forecast analyst at Forrester, told KrASIA in an earlier interview.

“Nobody had thought short video apps will pick up as it did in India. TikTok made inroads into tier 2 and 3 cities highlighting that no market is unreachable if you have the right content,” he said.