- TikTok’s Dan Page, head of global business development for new screens, reveals how and where TikTok content is coming next.
- TikTok’s TV app is more of a lean-back, curated and family experience with comments on either side of the scrolling vertical video.
- The company has deals with cinema chains and out-of-home advertisers to promote its app to its target of two billion additional users.
Not content with dominating social media, TikTok has its eyes set on TV, too. And cinema. And digital billboards. Soon there will be nowhere you can turn that won’t have a TikTok video scrolling in front of your eyes.
“We’re not the young singing and dancing app, we’re far from that,” says TikTok’s head of global business development for new screens, Dan Page. “We are an entertainment platform. There’s an additional two billion screens across the world outside of mobile. Our aim is to bring that entertainment experience to those screens.”
In an interview with James Kotecki for CES Tech Talk ahead of CES 2023, where TikTok will have a strong presence, Page revealed more about the Chinese-owned tech giant’s plans for taking the mobile-centric video app onto larger screens.
TikTok has been testing how its mobile-centric algorithm for scrolling personalized shortform videos might play on larger screens which by nature are far less interactive.
“We think we can do a pretty good job of this in the living room. I can’t speak for other apps and how others have translated to other screens versus mobile, but I definitely know we’ve tested quite a few use cases and it translates very well for us.”
We learn that TikTok TV will be a curated lean back experience “that is very family friendly”. However, there will be a customized option for users which will recognize individuals viewing patterns if they scan their details via QR code. TikTok will then serve up personalized content.
It will also be possible to “swipe” videos similar to the TikTok native TV app, but with the TV remote.
Right now most videos seen on the TV will be vertically formatted but Page expects that, in time, more will be made for TV and therefore in a traditional horizontal format.
“That really all depends on the community,” says Page. “Today you can upload a 16 x 9 video. It doesn’t look great on mobile, but looks great on TV. We’re still working to figure out what the best balance is there and how to present the right formatting for the right screen. However, I do see in a world where we lean in more to TV, you’ll see more full screen video on TV, more vertical video on phones.”
Instead of black bars on both sides of the vertical video, the TikTok TV app scrolls comments on either side.
That said, TikTok understand this is a different lean-back experience, just as its presence will be in cinemas and out of home.
It has partnered with exhibition chain Cineplex in Canada and with brands to create two minutes of curated TikTok videos to play ahead of theatrical screenings. Essentially this is TikTok’s own branded advertising to attract more people who currently don’t use TikTok onto the platform. Likewise, it has a partnership with Loop TV to stream videos into hospitality and restaurant outlets as well as dental offices. We should expect to see TikTok content appearing on digital billboards, too.
“It’s about showing people the joys and entertainment of TikTok, allowing us to curate a couple minutes,” Page said.
He had advice, too, for creators and brands wanting to post on the platform across its new screen real estate, most of which is “stick to what you’ve always done.”
“Meaning try and be authentic to the platform. It’s what works, it’s what our users like. It feels more organic. Pay attention to what the trends are. Pay attention to who the creators are Don’t try and crop your existing creative for TikTok. Make a TikTok.”
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