TikTok Takes On YouTube With New Horizontal Full-Screen Mode

TikTok is now testing a horizontal full-screen mode with select users across the globe, the company told TechCrunch on Tuesday.

When watching a video, users with access to the test feature can tap a “full screen” button that will flip the video horizontally, as one does with a YouTube video on their phone.

The horizontal video feature is likely intended to make longer-form videos -- which the company rolled out over the summer, including various tutorials, comedy sketches, and educational lessons -- easier to watch.

The choice to allow creators to upload videos up to 10 minutes long also tied into TikTok's desire to increase time-per-user, a potentially necessary move to attract more advertising in response to YouTube and Instagram launching copycat versions of its short-form app.

YouTube's TikTok-adjacent feature -- Shorts -- gained major popularity after the company announced in September that creators could earn ad revenue there, a first for a short-form video platform. 

Either way, TikTok and YouTube are mostly competing for younger viewership.

A July study showed that starting in June 2020, TikTok began to outrank YouTube in terms of the average minutes per day that people ages 4 through 18 spent on either platform, watching 82 minutes per day on TikTok versus an average of 75 minutes on YouTube.

TikTok has not provided details on whether it will launch the test feature to its 1 billion users or make any alterations.

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