There are reports that TikTok is now experimenting with 30 minute videos in a beta version of its app. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since the platform has consistently increased its time limit, starting from its original 15 seconds per clip, to 60 seconds, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, then 10 minutes. Last October it topped out at 15 minutes, which many had predicted would be the end of the lengthening, but here we are at 30 minutes.
TikTok is a platform built around short-form video, so would users even be interested in 30 minute videos? That’s unknown yet, but it turns out there are three reasons why the platform may be making this move.
The first reason is all about advertising. Short videos don’t allow for much ad placement, but a 30 minute clip allows for numerous mid-roll adverts, which provides more opportunities for revenue generation for the platform.
The second reason is creator retention. Right now content creators can make a lot more money on YouTube because of its advertising-based revenue model, so by offering something similar TikTok can eliminate the brain-drain to other long-form video platforms, and pick up some new creators who only viewed TikTok as a supplemental to their creations.
The third reason is that the infrastructure is already in place. Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, has been offering 30 minute uploads since 2022, so it won’t take much to implement this.
There is some speculation that 30 minutes is the coming up against the limits of what the platform can offer so don’t expect longer video capabilities any time soon. That said, it’s still not a given that users will even embrace these 30 minute videos in the first place.
Regardless, you have to give TikTok credit for constantly upping its game, even if there are some solid strategic reasons involved.