YouTube to roll out 'Shorts' in the US in March after positive response in India
After a positive response in India, where the app's newest feature has been tested for months, YouTube will launch its TikTok and Instagram Reels competitor - ‘Shorts' in the United States in March, the company said on Wednesday.
Chief product officer Neal Mohan stated in a blog post that the beta version of Shorts would be rolled out to more American creators over the coming months. “Every year, increasing numbers of people come to YouTube to launch their own channel. But we know there's still a huge amount of people who find the bar for creation too high,” Mohan stated, adding that the company was developing shorts for users to shoot “snappy” videos with just their phones.
The Shorts feature was first rolled out in India in September, after months of speculation following the regular leaks of Google's upcoming software and features. According to Mohan, Shorts was receiving more than 3.5 billion daily views globally while the number of Indian channels using the Shorts tool has tripled since then.
While these number will likely be buoyed by the popularity of the YouTube app itself, which is preinstalled on all Android devices which ship with Google Play services, the space left behind by TikTok following the Indian government's ban last year has left the playing field wide open. One of the most popular alternatives to TikTok at the moment is currently Instagram's Reels.
Unlike India, of course, YouTube will face stiff competition from TikTok which is booming in the US after the departure of former US President Trump. With the new administration not expected to follow in Trump's steps, TikTok is unlikely to exit the US market in the future, which means this could be a three-way-contest between YouTube Shorts, TikTok and Instagram Reels.