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TikTok Execs Reveal How TV & Films Go Viral on Their Platform

Long before “Barbie” exploded at the box office this summer, it was clear on TikTok that the movie was going to be a big deal. When Warner Bros. first launched their teaser video on the platform, it received over 27 million views and more than 2.7 million likes, even though “Barbie” wasn’t going to be in theaters for another four months.

Fast-forward to a summer season heading toward the finish line and Barbie’s official TikTok (@barbiethemovie) account is amassing over 1.4 million followers and more than 21 million likes. While by no means singlehandedly responsible for the popularity of the film, it’s the latest testament to the combination of how powerful studio marketing and organic fan activity can be for entertainment properties new and old on the Bytedance-owned platform.

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“There’s just kind of no corner of Tiktok that you can’t find some element of Barbie showing up and I think that that speaks to the tremendous success of the film overall,” said Catherine Halaby, Head of Entertainment for North America at TikTok on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business” in a joint appearance with Reia Davidson, US Head of Media and Entertainment.

Davidson noted that while TikTok has no shortage of competitors in terms of digital platforms that have been around far longer including YouTube and Instagram, what makes her business distinctive is that it “is a full-screen audio-on platform. So the benefit there is that when you’re on TikTok, you are fully immersed in the experience, there is no way that you could be multi-tasking. And that lends itself to being very complimentary to showing Hollywood content in an engaging and fun way. And this just really creates a naturally symbiotic relationship between TikTok and entertainment marketers, in terms of our ability to partner to build active, engaged and inspired fan bases.”

“Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

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