YouTube isn’t just trying to mimic TikTok, the viral short-form video app that has taken the world by storm. It’s also copying TikTok’s growth playbook by paying professionals to produce original short videos.
After YouTube in May said it would give $100 million to individual video creators to post original “Shorts,” its TikTok clone, the Google-owned company recently approached companies that produce scripted YouTube shows with similar offers. As part of its pitch, YouTube is dangling additional money for video production as well as other incentives, including giving those videos prominent placement on the YouTube mobile app, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
These moves and others show the impact that TikTok has had on YouTube, the biggest app for user-generated videos, over the past year. YouTube’s app has increasingly prioritized Shorts—TikTok-style vertical videos that last 60 seconds or less—over traditional, longer YouTube videos. Some video creators have jumped on the new format while others say they’re rethinking their YouTube strategy after noticing a decline in views of their longer videos.