2020 saw the battle for short videos intensify; 2021 will determine the emerging winners and trends!
In October 2013, Snapchat launched Stories, forever changing how we thought about videos. What were once premeditated, longer, primarily shot with professional cameras, and in horizontal format, became short, vertical, spontaneously shot on phones and in-the-moment.
Even though Stories opened up the world of short, vertical videos, it was not until Musical.ly and subsequently, TikTok, that the term “short videos” as we know it now came to be about people showcasing 15 to 60 seconds of talent set to popular music. In the early days of TikTok, traditional video creators and filmmakers resisted the idea of vertical videos and maintained that videos made with any seriousness must be horizontal.
Today, no one can afford to not experiment with vertical videos.
Further, the short duration of these videos has given rise to the culture of video memes. While this happened during the age of Vine, once again, TikTok is the platform that has made this a global phenomenon.
Short Videos And 2020
Staying true to the spirit of 2020, the world of short videos had its own share of chaos. With India banning TikTok along with a long list of other Chinese apps and the US threatening to possibly ban it as well for a short period of time, over a dozen other short video platforms have emerged.
Some like Triller and Rizzle had existed before but took an aggressive shot at the market to fill the TikTok void. Others like MX Takatak and Josh launched with the backing of large, existing players, ready to invest heavily in the market to take over the hundreds of millions of people that had made TikTok their home for their daily dose of short videos. About half a dozen other short video apps were launched by small players, all competing to become the next TikTok.
All the existing video leaders — YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat — have thrown their hats into the ring. YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and Snapchat Spotlight are all competing to become THE destination for short videos.
As we head into the next decade, one thing is very clear — this will be the decade where short videos become the leading format for videos of all kinds. But, one thing remains decidedly unclear — will the future of short videos have multiple winners and who would they be?
Who Will Win?
Heading into 2021, we won’t yet know who the ultimate winners in short videos will be. But, closing out 2020, there are definitely a few things we can be sure of.
- There will be more than one major platform for short videos. This is not a winner takes all situation.
- Nearly every market will need short videos — from enterprise productivity tools to workplace networks to customer service platforms to educational services and more, short videos will be a part of every aspect. The social and entertainment side of short videos is just the beginning.
- Richer and richer videos will be made with just smartphones, thoroughly democratizing the world of video creation. With both creation and distribution democratized, storytelling will be redefined forever.
Who would have imagined that we will be living in a world where YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Twitch, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and TikTok would all have hundreds of millions of users (some billions) and all be thriving at the same time?
Video platforms will be no different. Much like TV channels, short videos will have multiple flavors and players.
Technology, content, creator development, and creator monetization will all be critical components for a platform to emerge as one of the winners. Also, each platform must identify and stay true to its DNA.
Successful platforms will create new classes of stars and rising talent.
Conversely, those who take this area lightly are likely to be on the losing end of the spectrum.
Platforms that fail to develop a unique DNA and those that fail to capture creator loyalty will have a tough time surviving.
Expanding The Short Video Content Spectrum
Videos on TikTok have already gone beyond the initial music-centered dances and lip syncing, drawing all ages to the camera, bringing all kinds of videos from skits to opinions to short comedy bits and more.
Nearly all of the dozen plus platforms that exist now have been cloning the already proven model of music-based short videos. In India, the platforms have focused on lip-syncing, dance, and short skits set to popular music, much like the content that gave TikTok a fierce success before it was banned. In an attempt to clone the content and thereby, the success of TikTok, none of these platforms have managed to develop an identity yet.
One emerging trend in this space is episodic short series. Each creator will be able to create multiple short series — scripted or unscripted, telling different stories, creating vlogs, and talk shows.
Short, vertical series can easily be imagined as the next evolution in the short video content spectrum. There will be many more.
Changing Storytelling Forever
More than anything, the pandemic has forced filmmaking and storytelling to be reimagined in 2020. Even as we return to normalcy, we will continue to see the world of storytelling evolve and embrace short video platforms for creating, distributing, and monetizing all kinds of stories.
I, for one, am excited about the possibilities!
Article by Ms. Vidya Narayanan, Co-Founder and CEO, Rizzle.