YouTube is launching two new initiatives to make it easier for users to watch the latest news stories and to help news organizations create Shorts. The first initiative involves the introduction of what the company calls an “immersive watch page experience for news stories,” that pulls together content from authoritative sources. The second is the launch of the Shorts Innovation Program for News, which will offer financial grants and other support to news orgs creating short-form video on the platform.
In a blog post, YouTube shared that the news watch page will showcase content from news sources across video on demand, livestreams, podcasts and Shorts. The idea, the company explains, is to allow viewers to explore news events from across multiple sources and angles in a single destination. By supporting multiple formats, users can either dive in deep or they can choose to quickly catch up with shorter videos.
You can open the watch page for a specific news topic by clicking on a video with the newspaper icon on the YouTube homepage or in search results. The new watch page is starting to roll out to mobile users in around 40 countries. YouTube plans to launch desktop and TV versions of the feature in the future. The Google-owned company says it “believes this updated news experience will help viewers access a range of credible and diverse voices when they want to dive into a news topic.”
The Shorts Innovation Program for News, meanwhile, will see YouTube helping news organizations create short-form video content through financial grants and support. To start, YouTube is working with more than 30 organizations across 10 countries and providing them with a total of $1.6 million to fund their efforts.
“Participants are selected based on having a strong existing long-form video presence on YouTube, but are looking to improve and expand their Shorts news content creation,” the company wrote in the blog post. “Over the next year, YouTube specialists will work with news organizations, including Univision in the U.S., AFP in France, and Mediacorp in Singapore on Shorts content strategy and video production best practices.”
YouTube says the goal of the program is to help news publishers who are interested in developing short-form content, but don’t have the resources to do so.
A lot of news organizations have fully embraced TikTok, so it makes sense for YouTube to try to expand Shorts news content on its platform to compete, especially by bringing on publishers who have yet to delve into short-form video. The changes follow Meta’s pullback on news, which included pulling news on Facebook from markets like the U.K., Germany and France, from Facebook and Instagram in Canada, and a larger pullback from human-curated news on Facebook in favor of algorithms. Instagram’s new app Threads also said it would not amplify news on its platform, in an effort to differentiate itself from Twitter/X and save it from moderation headaches.
Additional reporting: Sarah Perez