YouTube; Rachel Mendelson/Insider
- YouTube Shorts now sees more than 50 billion daily views, up from 30 billion the year prior.
- The short-form video format was launched in 2021 as a response to TikTok.
- Beginning February 1, YouTube enabled creators to generate ad revenue from their Shorts videos.
YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion daily views, up from 30 billion a year ago, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said during its fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday.
Shorts’ growth was a rare bright spot for a quarter where Alphabet saw declining revenue in segments like Search, YouTube, and advertising. YouTube in particular saw its second quarter in a row of declining revenue from this time the previous year as it faces fierce competition from TikTok
YouTube generated just under $8 billion in revenue, down from $8.6 billion in revenue this time last year. Like other tech giants suffering from slumping ad revenue, Alphabet attributed the decline to a pullback in spend from advertisers over concerns of a looming recession.
The announcement of strong Shorts viewership comes just a day after YouTube enabled creators to share advertising revenue from short-form videos with the company. Once accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, users will receive a cut of revenue from the ads that appear against both long and now short-form videos. Some creators are already contemplating moving more of their content over to YouTube Shorts because of this.
This provides potential for YouTube Shorts if the company can draw people away from TikTok. TikTok is privately owned, and it’s unclear exactly how many views it sees per day. TikTok said in September 2021 that it had one billion monthly users. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew had said the app was on-track to generate $10 billion in revenue in 2022.
It’s “early days” for Shorts, Google chief business officer Philipp Schindler said on the call. Still, YouTube has long been considered the gold standard for video creators when it comes to making money as they can take a direct cut from advertising revenue.
Schindler described YouTube as “the only destination where creators can produce all forms of content across multiple formats, across multiple screens, and really, with multiple ways to make a living.” He added that Alphabet’s goal is to “make YouTube the best place for Shorts and creators.”
Other apps like Snapchat and TikTok have rolled out creator funds, but those are essentially the companies creating pools of money and distributing it out based on factors like overall views. Creators have complained that these programs are opaque and barely pay anything at all.
Meta is contemplating the possibility of sharing ad revenue with creators after years of resistance, The Information reported. Instagram, which Meta owns, has its own short-form video product called Reels.