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YouTube’s TikTok alternative ‘Shorts’ launched in India

The ban on TikTok in India triggered a mad scramble to own the short video space and local companies were quick to launch their apps. ShareChat, Times Internet, Dailyhunt and several others quickly built clones and launched their respective apps in weeks.

Google-owned YouTube, which was working on a TikTok alternative, has now joined the party and announced its version called ‘Shorts’. According to an announcement on a blog post, Shorts is a “new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.”

The in-app feature will be rolled out first in India and it makes absolute sense since India was the largest market for TikTok in terms of download and use. At the time of the ban, TikTok had over 200 million monthly active users from the country.

Driving uses for Shorts won’t be a problem for YouTube. The video search engine had 265 million users in India until December 2019. It’s likely to emerge as the largest threat for the desi TikTok clones. The success of short-video apps is more or less a function of influencers using its platform.

At present, MX TakaTak, Moj and Josh have been wooing influencers and YouTube is also expected to woo them with lucrative rewards aka money. 

It’s worth noting that US-based Triller, which was in the fray to buy TikTok’s business in the US, has been ramping up its India operations. It hired Bytedance’s former India strategy head Raj Mishra as its India general manager and local head.

Triller also made a strategic deal with JioSaavn that allows users of the music streaming app to create videos on Triller. As of August 15, it claims to have crossed 40 million downloads in India.

Currently, the short video app ecosystem in India is dominated by InMobi’s Roposo, MX TakaTak, Dailyhunt’s Josh, ShareChat’s Moj and Instagram’s Reels. The mid-tier players include Gaana’s HotShot, Trell, Mitron and Chingari. This space is now set to change with the launch of YouTube’s Shorts and Triller’s play in the country.

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