TikTok built a $400B+ tech giant on the smartphone. Can it transition to TV?

TikTok has hit 1B+ monthly active users. Can a move to Amazon’s Fire TV app grow that audience?

It’s November, which means you’re allowed to put this 2-hour Christmas-themed YouTube video of a burning yule log on your TV.

If you’re looking for a bit more action, TikTok — the short video app owned by the $400B+ Chinese firm ByteDance — has the answer.

TikTok is now on Amazon’s Fire TV device

According to The Wall Street Journal, the collaboration is a big opportunity for TikTok. The app already has 1B+ monthly users, but to expand it’ll have to find new audiences.

The TV screen offers a chance for younger TikTok users to share viral vids with their less tech savvy family members.

There’s a catch, though

Much of the TikTok magic doesn’t translate to the TV screen, per WSJ:

  • Dimensions: TikTok is optimized for the vertical mobile experience. TVs default to horizontal, which leaves unattractive gaps on either side of the video on TVs.
  • No swiping: The average TikTok user spends 52 minutes a day on the app, encouraged by the phone’s infinite swipe experience. On the Fire TV, you click a controller like changing channels.
  • Not personalized: TikTok is known for its eerily precise algorithm that feeds users exactly what they want. Since TV is a communal experience, the recommendations will not be as accurate.
  • No comments: One of the most wild parts of the TikTok app is the comments section (you guessed it: TV users can’t comment).

TikTok’s TV play…

… coincides with a corporate reorganization at ByteDance. Its co-founder and former CEO Yiming Zhang just stepped down as chairman.

The move comes amid a crackdown from the Chinese government that’s led to the loss of power from leaders at the country’s biggest tech firms: Alibaba, Kuaishou, JD, and Pinduoduo. 😬

At this rate, TV optimization may be the least of TikTok’s worries.

  • Read More: Here’s our previous coverage on “The secret sauce behind TikTok’s recommendation algorithm”

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