YouTube on Wednesday released new statistics on the growth in Shorts, the short-form video feature it launched to rival TikTok: More than 1.5 billion people who log into YouTube every month watch Shorts. On its surface, that statistic is impressive. It’s 50% more than the 1 billion monthly users TikTok reported in September. And it's 75% of YouTube’s 2 billion monthly active users.
Those numbers show that YouTube has been successful getting Shorts videos in front of many of its users. But it’s not clear whether Shorts could exist on its own, without the draw of YouTube’s core long-form videos and the push by YouTube engineers that have made Shorts more visible. After all, a Shorts user currently is anyone logged into YouTube who watches one Shorts video in 28 days (even via an accidental click, as I have done.) In contrast, a TikTok monthly user needs to have downloaded the dedicated short-form app.