- TikTok made its first push into streaming TV with the launch of a channel on Amazon Fire TV. The More on TikTok app gives viewers a way to watch its popular videos on a bigger screen, Business Insider reported.
- The app includes playlists and compilations of popular videos that TikTok selects, in addition to exclusive interviews with creators and influencers. The app initially will only allow viewing of videos, and users won't be allowed to log into their TikTok accounts, upload videos or buy and exchange virtual coins.
- The app for Fire TV is free to download and doesn't currently feature advertising, according to Variety. It also has two content categories that aren't in the mobile app, including "In the Studio," showing longer interviews with TikTok stars, and "This Is TikTok," which focuses on everyday creators on its mobile app, Business Insider reported.
While TikTok faces regulatory hurdles, its launch of a channel on Amazon Fire TV could help the app to reach the growing audience for video-on-demand (VOD) and over-the-top (OTT) services as more U.S. households connect their TVs directly to the internet. Amazon Fire TV is one of the leading OTT platforms, with an estimated 71.2 million users in the U.S., researcher eMarketer estimates. TikTok can potentially reach a massive audience with programming that highlights its most popular creators and influencers.
However, it's not clear if people will be willing to watch vertically shot videos made for smartphones, a key part of TikTok's user experience, when translated to TVs with wide screens. It will be an interesting test for TikTok, which this year saw record downloads that pushed its global user base past 2 billion worldwide, per Sensor Tower estimates.
As it does not currently feature advertising, the More on TikTok app could be part of the platform's push to boost app usage. TikTok also has sought to build up advertising revenue by expanding its sales and marketing teams and adding features like a self-serve ad platform called TikTok for Business.
TikTok's first push into video streaming comes at an ignominious time for the popular app. President Donald Trump yesterday signed executive orders that may ban all "transactions" with ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, and Tencent, which runs the messaging app WeChat, because of national security concerns. The orders came amid Microsoft's negotiations with ByteDance to possibly acquire TikTok's operations in some English-speaking countries including the U.S.