Is Short Form Video in Trouble? Signs of Decline Have Experts Worried



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This Week: Given TikTok’s latest move to abandon wide-spread revshare, Uscreen picked a good time to start sponsoring this newsletter. WELCOME! It’s the third week of November 2023 and here’s what you need to know. Also don’t miss this Thursday’s meetup in Lisbon! Can’t wait to see you there.

TikTok – “You’re on Your Own”: After slightly more than 3 years, TikTok abandoned its broad multi-billion-dollar creator fund last week. With paltry payouts, and rumors of it being mostly a PR stunt, I say good riddance. TikTok continues with smaller creator initiatives, including its beta and exclusive “Creativity Fund”, which pays out only on videos longer than a minute. It’s an odd choice for a short-form platform, until you factor in YouTube Shorts 60 second duration limit. My take: TikTok wants to help creators, but only in targeted ways that support its new priorities and initiatives – currently squashing Shorts, sparking Shop and lifting LIVE. When it comes to making consistent money, TikTok creators are on their own. Related:


What if Everybody Just Gave up on Short Form? Both the Information’s Kaya Yurieff and eMarketer Analyst Jasmine Enberg are seeing early signs of a decline in short form video. And Andrew Rosen asks
“What is the business model for short form video” in his latest newsletter. I’ve been questioning TikTok’s value to creators since January 2022, when I wrote that “TikTok’s algorithm would be, on balance, bad for creators and the creator economy.” And now, as the Publish Press reports, some large TikTok creators are seeing videos randomly disappear. My conclusion? TikTok doesn’t care about big creators. I have a cunning plan. What if big creators quiet-quit TikTok? Something to watch in 2024, for sure.


Open AI – What it Means for Creators: Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT, channeled his inner Steve Jobs and pulled of a whiz-bang firecracker of a keynote last week at his developer conference. The announcements were fascinating and far reaching – everything from a simple custom chatbot creator to putting art (DallE), GenAI (ChatGPT), vision and speech recognition all into one consumer product. And most of it is available now. The chatbot piece is most relevant for creators today as you can automate common queries and tasks – and use those developed by others. Sure, Poe lets you do that too, but instead of wrapping the LLMs, it’s baked in. For an early example, check out Phil Ranta’s AI TikTok creator Madison and Casey Newton’s Copy Editor. But I think image and speech and multi-modal recognition are more important. I’m going to cancel Midjourney and subscribe to ChatGPT instead – and you should too.


Facebook Unveils In-App Amazon Shopping: You can now link your Meta and Amazon accounts and buy stuff without leaving Facebook or Instagram. It’s an interesting development, one that’s apparently been underway for a while. Details are spotty, and it’s unclear whether creators will be able to take advantage of these integrations and whether it includes live shopping. I also wonder about data availability, as Amazon doesn’t share the details many creators and brands need. Unclear if Meta transmogrifies into Temu, but we’ll see more “#FBMadeMeBuyIt” and “InstaMadeMeBuyIt” in the future.


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  • Semrush released a 2024 Social Media Trends report. Their 5 megatrends should be obvious to ICE readers (UGC, Authenticity, TT/LI, Creator Power, Metrics). Semrush sponsored a group of top business influencers to promote the report, so your clients and co-workers will likely read it – and you should have a POV when it comes up.

Aside: I wonder if “2024 trends” pieces should be discounted if they don’t publish within 30 days of 1/1/2024.

  • Spotify released an analysis of its own data, also promoted by a creator – in this case @Jon Youshei. Good data for podcasters, including metrics on top discovery techniques, the value of Q&As, when people listen, and what formats work best for video.
  • Roblox’s new study details how GenZ approaches digital/physical and finds more than half think Avatar style is more important that IRL, and that brands matter for most Avatar users – and avatar fashion influences real-world preferences.



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I’ve built and sold multiple creator economy startups to top media companies – including Discovery and Paramount. Subscribe here on LinkedIn to get this newsletter every Monday:

Don’t forget to listen to The Creator Feed – the weekly podcast Renee Teeley and I produce – get it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher!

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