TikTok’s app is launching on TVs for the first time

A girl holds her smartphone in her hands on which she has opened @madelainepetsch's profile in the short video app TikTok.
A girl holds her smartphone in her hands on which she has opened @madelainepetsch’s profile in the short video app TikTok.

  • TikTok’s will be available on TV for the first time.
  • A partnership with Samsung means the app is available to download on certain smart TV models in Europe, and will be pre-installed on new TVs going forward.
  • TikTok’s TV experience will highlight the most popular content on the app, and the company says it’ll keep to family-friendly material.
  • TikTok’s move to TV echoes that of YouTube, which has seen a significant uptick in TV viewership.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

TikTok is launching an app on Samsung smart TVs – the first time its short-form video content has ended up on televisions, the company announced on December 14.

The app will be available for owners of Samsung TVs in Europe, beginning with a UK rollout from Monday. The app can be accessed from models dating from 2018 onwards via Samsung’s app store, and will be pre-installed in all new Samsung TVs going forward. 
 
Users will see TikTok videos on their TV, including scrolling through the For You feed. A horizontal banner will allow viewers to look at videos posted by creators they have chosen to follow, as well as videos under different categories. Viewers can also interact with videos by liking them.

TikTok on TV
Users won’t need to log in to scroll through content on TikTok’s TV app.

 
“All the best entertainment experiences are shared experiences,” said Rich Waterworth, TikTok’s European managing director, announcing the product reveal to journalists on Monday. “TikTok on Samsung TV is the next extension of this experience.”
 
Waterworth previously worked at UK broadcaster ITV. “I’ve seen the dramatic changes in the way people consume content. Gone are those days when the only way to find entertainment at home was through a single, shared TV in the living room,” he said. “And never have we needed entertainment more than in 2020.”
 
TikTok’s TV experience will feature the most liked and viewed content on the platform, suitable for families, and users aged in their teens and up.

“It’s all about giving whole households together the opportunity to enjoy big screen bursts of joy in their day,” said Waterworth.
 
The move shows TikTok’s attempts to move into the longer-form video space.

Earlier this month, the app announced it was considering extending the maximum length of videos from 60 seconds to three minutes. And the shift to embrace viewing on TVs echoes that of YouTube, which in the last five years has seen significant increases in viewing on TV, rather than smartphones.

Fateha Begum, an analyst at Omdia, told Business Insider that the launch indicated the continued importance of television in the household, and the growing popularity of free internet content.

“In recent years, the ability to cast content from the likes of Facebook has been growing in popularity,” she said. “We’ve seen the arrival of curated short-form online video platforms and even YouTube now sees more than 30% of its consumption occur on TV screens. Omdia’s research reveals that nearly half of Samsung smart TV app users access YouTube on the device.”
 
Educational content, branded in the app as #LearnonTikTok, will be a key part of the TV-based programming, Waterworth said, adding TikTok on TV will operate in restricted mode, filtering out inappropriate content.
 
“TikTok on TV has been specifically created for that home viewing experience,” Waterworth added. “This will be a totally new kind of TikTok experience.”
 
Deep Halder, head of retail and content services at Samsung, said: “By offering TiKTok TV, we are giving customers yet another fantastic choice.”

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