You’re Watching More TikTok Than YouTube, Which Is Why Every App Is Trying to Be TikTok

You’re Watching More TikTok Than YouTube, Which Is Why Every App Is Trying to Be TikTok
Photo: Kiichiro Sato, Getty Images

TikTok users are officially gobbling up more content than their counterparts on YouTube, with the ByteDance-owned short video platform officially outpacing the streaming giant in terms of content watched each month for the second year in a row.

A recent report from the app analytics firm App Annie found that as of June 2021, TikTok users were watching more than 24 hours of content per month, compared with 22 hours and 40 minutes watched on Google-owned YouTube. The new data solidifies a trend that first emerged in August of 2020, when TikTok overtook YouTube in the U.S. for the first time. In other parts of the world, the gulf between the two streaming platforms has grown even wider: According to the same report, TikTok officially overtook YouTube in the U.K. in May of last year, with users there now reportedly taking in nearly 26 hours of content a month, as compared to less than 16 on YouTube in the same time frame.

While the data is exclusive to viewership on Android phones — meaning that iOS users might skew the numbers in a different direction — the report’s conclusion does seem to reliably reflect that fact that mobile users are increasingly inclined to kill time by flipping through an endless supply of bite-sized videos (TikToks are currently limited to three minutes in length, although that might soon change) than they are to hunker down for a longer-format video on YouTube.

The conclusions reached in the report are exactly why nearly every major platform is currently trying to replicate the success TikTok has seen with short-form video. After Instagram debuted Reels — its TikTok-like short-form infinite scroll feature — and Twitter canned its short-lived story feature, Fleets, Reddit announced in August that it also had a new short-form video feed in the works. That video player, which has an interface that’s nearly identical to TikTok’s in both form and functionality, gives users the ability to swipe, share and comment on videos, in addition to being able to upvote or downvote them.