Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
4 minute read
2 Aug 2021
9:46 am

YouTube joins the short-form video arena with Shorts

Kaunda Selisho

Users in South Africa will now be able to access YouTube Shorts’ creation tools for the first time and join the short-form video party.

YouTube recently announced the YouTube Shorts Fund - a $100 million (R1.4 billion) fund set to be distributed over the course of 2021-2022. Picture: iStock

Video giant YouTube has now joined the short-form arena by making their YouTube Shorts platform available to more countries.

The beta version of YouTube Shorts, the company’s new short-form video experience to create short, catchy videos from mobile phones is now available to South African social media users.

First announced in September 2020, Shorts has now been expanded to 25 other countries and will now be available to more than 100 locations around the world.

“While short-form videos were already viewable on the platform, users in South Africa will be able to access  YouTube Shorts’ creation tools for the first time, which includes a multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together, the ability to record with music, control speed settings, and more,” explained YouTube in a statement.

YouTube Shorts features

According to YouTube, users will also have the ability to sample audio, not only from other Shorts but from billions of other videos all across YouTube worldwide.

“This means that users can put their own creative spin on the content they love to watch on YouTube and help find it a new audience — whether it’s reacting to their favourite jokes, trying their hand at a creator’s latest recipe, or re-enacting comedic skits. Creators will be in control and will be able to opt-out if they don’t want their long-form video remixed,” added YouTube.

In addition to the launch of YouTube Shorts (and time with the product’s international expansion), YouTube has made a new set of features available to all existing and new markets.

These new YouTube features will allow users to add text to specific points in their videos, automatically add captions to their YouTube Shorts, record up to 60 seconds with the Shorts camera, add clips from their phone’s gallery to add to their recordings made with the Shorts camera and add basic filters to colour correct Shorts.

The platform also plans to release more effects in the future

“We want to make it easy and fun to create Shorts” said Todd Sherman, global product manager for YouTube Shorts.

“As we continue to build Shorts alongside our creators and artists, we’ll be adding more features for users to try”, he added.

YouTube Music and Shorts

As part of the platform’s drive to deliver a seamless viewing experience across YouTube, artists and creators will have a large library of songs at their disposal to use in their Shorts from over 250 labels and publishers around the world.

This includes Universal Music Group’s labels and publishing companies, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Publishing, Warner Music Group and Warner Chappell Music, Believe, Merlin, Because Music, Beggars and Kobalt. 

“Helping people find Shorts to enjoy and creators get discovered is also a key component of the product experience. That is why even before announcing the creation tools, YouTube introduced a dedicated row on the homepage especially for Shorts, launched a new watch experience that lets you easily swipe vertically from one video to the next, and have added a Shorts tab on mobile that makes it easier for users to watch Shorts with a single tap.”

This means that users do not even have to download a separate app to begin watching and creating Shorts.

As of mid-July, the YouTube Shorts player had surpassed 6.5 billion daily views globally.  

“Shorts will be integrated into the YouTube experience users already know and love. For example, if a user hears a snippet of a song on Shorts, they can easily find the full song, watch the music video, or learn more about the artist — all on YouTube.”

Monetising Shorts

As part of their ongoing desire to “help an entire generation of creators turn their creativity into businesses and become the next generation of media companies”, YouTube has been looking at various ways to monetise Shorts and reward creators for their content.

“Over the last three years, the company has paid more than R439 billion ($30 billion) to creators, artists, and media companies,” said YouTube.

As such, the company recently announced the YouTube Shorts Fund – an R1.4 billion ($100 million) fund set to be distributed over the course of 2021-2022. 

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