TikTok is rolling out longer videos with more "canvas to create"!

By Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times

Culver City, California - Ever wondered how Chowder the bulldog learned how to skateboard?

TikTok announced it will unroll longer videos up to three minutes in length.
TikTok announced it will unroll longer videos up to three minutes in length.  © Collage: 123RF/magurok & fongfong

Explaining it in a TikTok video that is less than a minute long could be challenging.

But last week, TikTok said it will triple the length of time for videos on its platform to up to three minutes, providing video creators more runway.

The option to make up to three-minute videos will be rolled out to all TikTok users over the coming weeks along with other new features, the company said.

Chowder's mom was among a group of creators to test out the longer-form video feature months before the announcement.

Her tips were revealed in a roughly two-and-a-half-minute video: Chowder trains in empty parking lots with no easy access to the street and learned how to ride a skateboard on flat areas first.

The changes come after creators had told TikTok they would like more time per video segment to add to their cooking demos, beauty tutorials, educational videos, animal vids, and amazing discoveries, explains Drew Kirchhoff, a TikTok product manager on the company's website.

"With longer videos, creators will have the canvas to create new or expanded types of content on TikTok, with the flexibility of a bit more space," he wrote.

TikTok began with even shorter videos

TikTok exploded in popularity during the pandemic (stock image).
TikTok exploded in popularity during the pandemic (stock image).  © 123RF/gregorylee

TikTok, at first known for 15-second videos, received a huge boost in popularity during the pandemic as people sheltered at home looked to the viral video app to entertain themselves.

The app has been a vehicle for up-and-coming artists to be discovered, as a way to educate others, and for brands to resonate with younger audiences.

Last year, TikTok moved into a larger office in Culver City, California, and said it had 100 million users in the US alone.

But TikTok isn't the only app that Los Angeles creators are using.

Last year, the app's China-based parent company ByteDance was threatened with a potential app ban by the Trump administration due to concerns about whether TikTok would give US user information to the Chinese government. TikTok disputed the claims.

The app was never banned in the US, but some creators fearful of losing their audiences on TikTok looked to expand on rival platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

TikTok says the new move will help with "better storytelling"

Creators have posted on rival platforms to create longer videos in lieu of TikTok (stock image).
Creators have posted on rival platforms to create longer videos in lieu of TikTok (stock image).  © 123RF/nito500

Extending the length of time of TikTok videos to a maximum of three minutes gives users a longer option that is available on rival platforms such as Facebook.

"This is about better storytelling," says Ray Wang, a principal analyst at Palo Alto, California-based Constellation Research. "You were really limited before. People want to share things in depth."

YouTube and Facebook-owned Instagram have also tried to compete with TikTok by offering their own options for short-form videos – Shorts and Reels.

Already, some TikTok users have uploaded longer-form videos, including one that goes into the steps of making Brazilian chicken croquettes, coxinha.

Advertisers may also like the longer format because it gives them more time to get their message across, analysts say.

"The longer the video, the more time people are on the page," says Rob Enderle, principal analyst of Oregon-based advisory services firm Enderle Group.

After all, capturing the user's attention for as long as possible is the name of the social media game.

Cover photo: Collage: 123RF/magurok & fongfong

More on TikTok: