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TikTok tests 60-minute videos, expanding into YouTube's territory

TikTok, the short video platform originally popular for its 15-second lip-synching content, is now testing 60-minute video uploads with certain creators, in a challenge to veteran online video giant YouTube.

The feature, first shared publicly by UK-based social media consultant Matt Navarra, allows users to upload from both the mobile app and desktop, according to a screenshot he posted on Thursday on Meta Platforms' Threads.

Neither TikTok nor its Chinese owner ByteDance immediately responded to a request for comment on Friday.

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The company said that the function is available to a limited group of users in select markets, but that it does not have immediate plans for an official launch, according to online media TechCrunch.

The increased time limit gives creators the flexibility to experiment with new or expanded types of content, TechCrunch reported, citing TikTok.

The short video app, with more than 1 billion users worldwide, is facing both political headwinds and competitive pressure in the US, one of its key markets. Last month, US President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that gave ByteDance 270 days to divest TikTok's US operations, or it will be banned from app stores. The company and some creators have taken the case to court to reverse the decision.

Established video and social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram have launched their own products to rival TikTok. According to a report by data firm Sensor Tower in March, nearly 94 per cent of TikTok users in the US also browsed YouTube in the previous 90 days, while 80 per cent used Instagram and 68 per cent looked at Facebook, both owned by Meta Platforms.

"Google and Meta would be poised to seize advertiser demand for short-form video placements, given each has a viable short-form video alternative in Shorts and Reels, respectively," said Abraham Yousef, senior insights analyst at Sensor Tower.

TikTok has gradually increased the maximum length of its videos. When ByteDance acquired Musical.ly and merged it into the nascent TikTok app in 2018, it had a 15-second time limit to record videos, and one minute for uploads. The upload limit was extended to three minutes in 2021, and 10 minutes less than a year later.

In January this year, the platform started to test the ability to upload 30-minute videos, TechCrunch reported at the time.

In China, the domestic version Douyin allows uploads of videos up to 15-minutes in length. For long-form content, it operates another platform named Xigua Video that has no time limit.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2024 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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