TikTok is rising on YouTube and is now main the US for common watch time


Enlarge / TikTok headquarters in Culver City, California.

AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

The bite-sized video site TikTok wins on Google’s video juggernaut YouTube. A new report from the BBC says that TikTok has overtaken YouTube in average watch time per user in the US and the UK. While YouTube is still the largest video site in terms of users and overall videos viewed, the average US TikTok user watches more videos than the average US YouTube viewer. The youngsters are addicted.

The BBC cites numbers from App Annie, an app analytics company. These numbers are only from Android phones, but there is no reason to believe that the situation would be any different on iOS devices. App Annie lists TikTok as the most downloaded app in the past year (although there is no need to download pre-installed Android Google apps like YouTube) and says the average TikTok watch time per user surpassed that of YouTube in April.

YouTube did its best to fend off TikTok. YouTube’s TikTok clone, YouTube Shorts, was launched in the US in May and offers 60-second video clips in a mobile, swipeable interface. Booting up the photocopier is always YouTube’s first choice when a new video service hits the market. To compete with Twitch, Google introduced live streaming and chat capabilities under YouTube Gaming, and the auto-scrolling videos from YouTube Stories were Google’s answer to Snapchat.

TikTok is one of the few internationally popular apps from China. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is headquartered in Beijing and is partially owned by the Chinese government. The company was reportedly caught internationally censoring content on behalf of China. Because of its Chinese connections, TikTok was banned in India and almost banned in the US. YouTube’s other cloning jobs are generally unsuccessful, but the shorts plan worked in India thanks to a lack of competition. It almost worked in the US too.