YouTube is all-in on Shorts. But is India push coming up short?

YouTube is all-in on Shorts. But is India push coming up short?

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Soumya Gupta

28 reads
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Soumya Gupta

28 reads

The video giant is sparing no effort to build Shorts as a worthy rival of Instagram Reels in India. It has unveiled a creator programme, monetisation models and a format for smart TVs. Then why are creators and brands still not 100% convinced?

November 15, 2022

8 MINS READ

YouTube soft-launched the Shorts feature, which hosts videos up to 60 seconds long, in India in 2020, months before the rest of the world got a peek. It was a well-timed move by parent Google since the Indian government had just blocked TikTok, the breakout star of the short-form video space.

Indeed, Shorts is now the tech giant’s most ambitious global project in years, a potential bulwark against the formidable tide of TikTok and Instagram Reels. This a tussle for user attention and advertising dollars that it can ill afford to lose after initially failing to grasp what younger audiences like. 

The latest available stats show that the two-year-old feature, nestled in YouTube’s main app, is shaping up surprisingly well. As of April 2022, 1.5 billion logged-in users the world over were viewing Shorts each month. This reach hands YouTube more than a fighting chance in the new video wars.

But how is Shorts performing in India, where it all began? In the absence of TikTok, it is chasing Meta’s Instagram Reels, the clear leader in the domestic market with a massive base of users, creators and brands signed on to advertise.

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