TikTok is launching its first TV app with Amazon and its head of marketing says it's an ideal testing ground for longer videos

  • TikTok is launching its first TV app on Amazon Fire TV devices. 
  • The app, called More on TikTok, will include video playlists and compilations curated by the company, plus interviews with creators and other content that can run for longer than the 60-second maximum on TikTok's mobile app.
  • The company is treating the new app as an experiment to see how its mobile videos translate to TV sets.
  • It comes as Amazon Fire TV said usage of apps that many would consider mobile-first, such as Facebook Watch, MasterClass, Peloton, and Audible, has spiked in the past six months.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

TikTok is bringing its viral videos to TV sets for the first time.

The mobile-video platform is launching an app on Amazon Fire TV devices in the US, bringing its popular dances to the big screens in viewers' living rooms, TikTok and Amazon told Business Insider. The app marks TikTok's first foray into streaming TV.

The app, called More on TikTok, will include playlists and compilations of popular TikTok videos that will be curated by TikTok, as well as interviews with TikTok creators and stars and other content.

"We know that during this time a lot of families and people are engaging together, as a collective group, to watch anything entertainment," Nick Tran, TikTok's head of global marketing, said. "We see a lot of co-viewing and it's harder to do that on a mobile device, so we wanted to bring another outlet for them to watch it all."

More on TikTok starts rolling out on Fire TV devices today and will be integrated into Alexa voice search.

TikTok, which has grown its audience during the pandemic, is treating the new app as an experiment to see how its mobile videos translate to TV sets.

At launch, More on TikTok will be viewing only. Users won't be able to log into their accounts, upload videos, or buy and exchange coins within the app.

"It's unique in the sense that you're not interacting with it," Tran said. "You're leaning back and consuming it all."

TikTok will explore videos and compilations on the OTT app that are longer than 60 seconds, the maximum length of clips users can string together on the mobile app. Two new content categories in the app are In the Studio, which includes minutes-long interviews with stars on TikTok, like Grimes, and This Is TikTok, which showcases everyday creators on the platform. Previously, that longer content was mainly housed on YouTube.

Tran also said the OTT app is an ideal testing ground for content like its upcoming live-concert event with The Weeknd.

"We know how engaging the current mobile experience is," said Tran, who joined TikTok in April from Hulu. "It's tough to translate that into the OTT environment … Our approach is to let the community and our creators try a bunch of different things at scale."

Amazon said TikTok's TV play comes as usage on Fire TV is spiking among apps that many would consider mobile-first

Amazon said TikTok's TV play comes at a time when people on Fire TV are spending more time with apps that many would consider mobile-first.

Apps including Facebook Watch, MasterClass, Peloton, and Audible have seen spikes in usage on Fire TV as more people stay home, Amazon said.

From January to June, apps created by mobile-first developers such as these saw a more than 70% increase in total hours on Fire TV in the US, compared with the prior six months. The average pace of growth of active users among those apps was also double that of all apps on Fire TV in the US. And YouTube has consistently been one of the top 5 apps on Fire TV, by total hours and active customers.

"Content that we used to think of as mobile-first is now being consumed on the biggest screen in the home," Matt Clark, director of content and app partner engagement at Amazon, said. "We're excited that this content is finding its audience in the living room and expect this trend to continue even after people no longer need to shelter in place."

At launch, TikTok said it won't be monetizing the app, which will be free to use and won't feature ads.

As TikTok explores new ways to grow and engage users in the US, it is also facing intense pressure from President Trump to separate from its China-based parent company, ByteDance, or risk being banned in the country. Microsoft has said it's in talks to acquire TikTok's US operations.

Whatever the outcome, TikTok said it's building its platform for the long haul.

"TikTok will be here for many years to come," the company said, as part a statement in response to the political issues.

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