How YouTube is Expanding into Short-Form Video Territory with ‘Clips’



YouTube’s take on ‘Clips’ gives creators and viewers the ability to share 5-60 second segments from any original uploads or streams.


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Move over, Twitch. YouTube is testing the ability for viewers and creators to make clips of longer videos, allowing for the sharing of short, bit-sized clips of a video. Sound familiar?
The feature is currently “in testing” with a small group of channels while YouTube gathers feedback.

“We’ve heard a lot of feedback from creators and viewers who have wanted an easy way to capture short segments of content and share moments from videos or streams,” the company shared in an official YouTube blog post announcing the feature. “We’re excited to begin our testing of a clipping feature on YouTube starting today with a small group of creators while we start gathering feedback.”

We’re breaking down at how it all works, key differences between clips on Twitch, and more.

How it works

Until today, viewers had to rely on the watch page URL of videos and live streams. In this case, it was only possible to start a video at a specific time by adding specific parameters. With the introduction of Clips, however, users can share a portion of their content or a live stream – a length of 5 to 6 seconds per their own attribution. Both Creators and signed in viewers can create Clips through a new URL.

These clips will play on a loop directly and will live on the original video’s watch page. Put differently, a clip is a timestamp link to the original video. Because the clip will be played on the original video and loop repeatedly, the viewer’s browser is not directed elsewhere. This is a key differentiator from Twitch’s take on the feature, which creates a new video from a clip.

Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Start watching an eligible video on YouTube and click the clip icon that looks like aa pair of scissors
  • Designate the portion the video you’d like to clip. You can increase (maximum of 60 seconds) or decrease (minimum of 5 seconds) the length of your selection by dragging the slider.
  • Give the clip a title (max 140 characters).
  • Click the “Share Clip” button that will trigger different options to publish the content.

To share from a social network, select the platform icon of your choice including Facebook or Twitter. If you’re sharing it to a personal or company website, click the “Embed” button to generate a code you can use for a landing page.

If you’re sharing it via an email, select the email icon using the default email software on your computer. Alternatively, you can click the “Copy” button to create a shareable link to the video you can paste in elsewhere including in the body of an email message.

Community response

So, what’s the verdict? Most who have voiced their opinions on the news expressed enthusiasm for the chance to share quick, interesting moments from their YouTube videos and help spread the word about smaller channels amongst the community.
“This is a really great new tool especially for streamers. It will definitely help people be able to share their favorite creators in an easy-to-use manner,” read one comment.

Others used the opportunity to share where certain tweaks could be considered when it comes to control over the playback of the content and curbing abuse.

“Twitch allows its streamers to limit the ability the make clips, delete clips that were made, or even turn the feature off to prevent trolls from using the feature to harass, ridicule, or bully streamers. Will similar provisions be made to prevent said abuse from occurring?”

Another deviation from clips on Twitch is that YouTube clips from a channel aren’t publicly listed anywhere. While on Twitch you can find a “popular clips” section, YouTube clips are only listed privately in a user’s account settings, akin to a shareable, personal bookmark.

One comment suggested the ability to add a feature to select which of these private uploads can be shared widely via a playlist. “Maybe you can add it [a clip] so it goes to your channel unlisted or private, then you can check it and add it to a playlist.”

Let’s talk monetization

According to YouTube, ads are eligible to appear on Clips as long as the original video is at least 30 seconds long. While this doesn’t take earning a profit off Clips content completely off the table, it does raise flags for larger channels that often weave in integrated ad-reads to their videos. How this will ultimately shift the reliance on Google’s automatic ad programs versus third-party deals that include ad reads will certainly be a space to watch as the roll-out of the offering continues.

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