TikTok is testing videos with longer runtimes. Will it give users their 15 minutes of fame?

By 10/24/2023
TikTok is testing videos with longer runtimes. Will it give users their 15 minutes of fame?

TikTok is on a mission to encourage more long-form uploads, and it is experimenting with some changes that would serve that goal. The platform has confirmed that it is running a test that enables 15-minute-long videos for some users.

Matt Navarra, a social media consultant who often spots new test features, was the first to report on the limited expansion of TikTok runtimes. Navarra has paid close attention to TikTok’s quest for higher watch time. He has chronicled the app’s slow but steady increase of its maximum upload length. He has also noticed other features, such as video scrubbing thumbnails, that help viewers navigate long-form TikToks.

TikTok confirmed to TechCrunch that it is running the test Navarra spotted. The experiment is only live in a few regions, and only a select group of users have access to 15-minute uploads. TikTok did not specify whether it has any immediate plans for additional testing phases or a wider rollout.

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Currently, TikTok videos can run for up to ten minutes. Creators who wish to go beyond that limit must split their content across multiple uploads. If the test of 15-minute videos ever becomes a fully rolled-out feature, it would help TikTok build its library of long-form content. The platform has already encouraged its community to embrace longer formats by establishing its Creativity Program, which offers higher payouts to the creators of the most engaging long-form videos.

The Creativity Program shows the potential of long-form TikTok uploads. Short-form content may have put the app on the map, but its long-form videos can be translated to new screens while providing opportunities for brands, creators, and the platform itself.

But an increased emphasis on 10-to-15-minute videos could also have unintended consequences. Some observers have argued that YouTube is cannibalizing its own long-form videos by focusing on the development of its Shorts format. TikTok is attempting a similar diversification, but in reverse. Will it get the same results? For us to find out, 15-minute TikTok videos will have to progress beyond the testing phase.

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