YouTube Shorts Coming To A TV Near You

Edition #42

Happy Friday! Thank you, everyone, for reading. Enjoy this week’s edition!

Today’s Edition:

  • YouTube brings Shorts to connected TVs

  • Instagram finally launches in-app content scheduling

  • Spotify lets artists send video messages for this year’s Spotify Wrapped

YouTube Brings Shorts To Connected TVs

YouTube Shorts are coming to a TV screen near you. YouTube announced it’s making Shorts available on smart TVs, streaming devices, and gaming consoles. Viewers can watch Shorts on these devices and interact with them by liking/disliking videos, subscribing to creators’ channels, and more.

A Customized Viewing Experience

According to the platform, bringing Shorts to TVs was much more complex than simply making them available. YouTube leaned on its community for research and feedback to create a customized viewing experience for the vertical, mobile-first content format. Several iterations later, the company landed on an experience that put Shorts in the center of the screen, along with like/dislike and more information buttons. Shorts are vertically scrollable, but viewers must manually advance to the next one using a remote.

Why Shorts & TV Screens Are The Perfect Match

The arrival of Shorts on TV is a perfect match since it combines the fastest-growing content formats on YouTube with the fastest-growing ways for people to consume YouTube content. With TVs being a prominent surface for YouTube viewing, it can help bring Shorts to a larger audience, particularly those that are consuming YouTube content outside of their phones.

TikTok Was First

YouTube isn’t the first to bring short-form videos to TV screens. TikTok launched the TikTok TV app last year to allow viewers to watch videos on Amazon Fire TV, LG Smart TVs, Samsung Smart TVs, and more.

Also this week, GIPHY launched Public Axis, a new, exclusive app on Roku that allows viewers to view GIPHY Clips, which are 30 seconds of original clips, on their Roku devices. Surprisingly, Instagram has not made any effort to bring Reels to non-mobile devices.

It's safe to say that short-form videos will always be consumed mostly on mobile devices, but expanding to a bigger screen can increase consumption by providing convenience and community. Whether people have mobile-phone fatigue or prefer to watch videos on a bigger screen, they can still enjoy Shorts content in a way that works for them. In addition, the TV viewing experience enables people to watch their favorite Shorts with groups of friends.

Shorts are already being watched by more than 1.5 billion YouTube users every month. According to Nielsen’s Gauge rankings for September, YouTube was the most-used streaming service, so this number for Shorts is bound to increase incrementally.

An Opportunity & Challenge For Creators

With creators leading the charge for Shorts in creation and consumption, this directly impacts them. It presents an opportunity and a challenge. The ability for their Shorts to show up across new surfaces increases their visibility and discovery. Ads won’t be run with Shorts on TV to begin with, but once they are, creators will have the ability to monetize through the new revenue share program. On the other end, creators may need to consider how their videos appear on smart TVs, streaming devices, and gaming consoles.

Although YouTube designed a customized experience for the TV, that doesn’t mean all content will be designed for bigger screen experiences. If TV views prove significant, some creators may consider upping their equipment to ensure that the quality of their videos matches the high-quality devices being watched on.

Instagram Finally Launches In-App Content Scheduling

Instagram has started rolling out an in-app content scheduling tool. Creators and businesses with a Professional account can schedule Reels, Photo, and Carousel Posts for up to 75 days in the future directly from the app.

How Scheduled Posts Work

Once the post has been created, creators and businesses tap Advance settings and toggle the “Schedule this post” on. They can then select a time and date for posting and then navigate back to the post creation screen and tap Schedule.

A “Finally Feature”

As Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in his announcement video, scheduled posts are a "finally feature" — something that Instagram should have launched long ago. The ability for users to schedule posts in advance within Instagram has been long overdue, especially considering how several third-party apps like Later, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social have been supporting this for years.

A Win For Creators & Brands, A Win For Instagram

The days of Instagram being a place where users post content in real-time has mostly passed. Nowadays, creators and brands often batch-create content, outline when specific pieces of content will go live on a content calendar, and schedule it accordingly.

Now, creators and brands can do this right in the Instagram app. In addition to being convenient, this can also save them time and money, depending on their scheduling tools. By scheduling content for a future time and date, creators can push out more content without worrying about posting it in real-time. Instagram also benefits from this, since more content leads to increased user engagement and time spent in the app.

A Sign For More Practical & In-Demand Features?

Scheduled posts is one of a trio of new features that Instagram has officially rolled out or is testing with select users. The other two are Creator Portfolio, a media kit feature for creators, and support for multiple links. These are all wins for Instagram in its mission to better support creators.

Despite this, it's taken Instagram a relatively long-time to roll them out. Instead, it has focused on more headline-worthy features like Subscriptions and NFTs. These have been positive moves since they can help creators monetize, but they came ahead of more practical and in-demand features like post-scheduling. Hopefully, this is a signal of the platform rolling out more “finally features,” like the ability to rearrange posts on your Profile Grid and create Highlights without having to post a Story first.

Spotify Allows Artists To Include Video Messages In This Year’s Spotify Wrapped

The beginning of November means that Spotify Wrapped isn't too far away. For those who aren't familiar, Spotify Wrapped is a personalized data-backed recap of users' listening from the year based on their activity.

A Cultural Moment

Since launching in 2016, Wrapped has become a cultural moment, with everyone running to their favorite social media platforms to share the artists, songs, and podcasts they listened to the most that year. Over the years, the recap has become more interactive and easier to share with viewers.

Artists Get A Chance To Be Involved

On the artist side, it’s been a relatively hands-off process. But this year, Spotify is allowing artists to be more directly involved. They can record and upload a 30-second video to be included in the Wrapped experience for their top fans. They can also showcase their top merchandise, highlight upcoming show dates, and encourage their fans to donate to their causes.

What This Means For Artists

Artists can show their appreciation to their fans through merch, show tickets, and donation integrations. With artists reaching their top supporters across Spotify, they can engage with those who are more likely to come out of their pocket. Artists can already do this with social media platforms, but Spotify Wrapped allows them to get in front of a targeted audience in a more personalized way. Plus, with listeners being able to share their Wrapped with friends, there is the potential for artists to benefit even more.

What Social Media Platforms Can Learn

Spotify has created something special with Wrapped. Not only does it bring massive awareness to the company through organic sharing, but it helps its artists in doing so. Social media platforms like Facebook (Year In Review) and other streaming services like Apple Music (Replay) have attempted to do something similar, but none have gained the amount of traction that Wrapped does.

While it hasn’t worked yet, it doesn’t mean that social media platforms shouldn’t think about creating a similar experience. With more attention on creators and particularly short-form videos, now seems an ideal time for platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram to create their own version of Wrapped. They could leverage all their user data and create personalized, shareable recaps for their short-form video features, such as what creators, videos, and sounds users watched the most from the past year. And just like Spotify this year, they could allow creators to deliver personalized messages to their top fans and pitch them subscriptions, tipping, or any other fan-funding monetization tools.

What I’m Reading

  • Record Labels Ask TikTok to Share More of Its $12 Billion (Bloomberg)

  • The Midterms Turned Politicians Into Content Creators (The Verge)

  • Two Weeks of Chaos: Inside Elon Musk’s Takeover of Twitter (New York Times)