TikTok Triples Video Streaming Length to 3 Minutes

Social video-sharing media behemoth TikTok is expanding the length it will allow users to post videos to three minutes from 60 seconds.

With 689 million monthly active users worldwide, the Chinese-owned app has a strong following in the U.S., which leads in the platform’s monthly revenue and users.

In a blog post, product manager Drew Kirchhoff said the move underscored the platform’s desire to afford users an “even richer storytelling and entertainment” experience.

“With all the ways our community has redefined expression in under 60 seconds, we’re excited to see how people continue to entertain and inspire with a few more seconds — and a world of creative possibilities,” Kirchhoff wrote.

The move underscores increasing competition within the social media video space with recent launches that include YouTube Shorts, Instagram’s Reels, Snapchat’s Spotlight and Triller, among others.

TikTok generated nearly $2.1 million in U.S. app revenue from Apple’s iOS platform in February, according to Statista. The U.S. accounted for 44% of TikTok’s revenue throughout the Apple App Store.

Tubi Partners With TikTok for TV Show Reunion Special

Tubi will debut the first-ever live-TV show reunion special on June 30 (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) on TikTok.  Hosted by social media personality Brittany Broski, the hour-long live trivia and challenge event features appearances by Marlon Wayans (“White Chicks”), Paris Hilton (“The Simple Life”), Fran Drescher (“The Nanny”), Joey Lawrence (“Hit List”) and Lacey Chabert (“Party of Five”).

The special will highlight Tubi’s catalog of nostalgic TV titles, including “Dawson’s Creek,” “The Nanny,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Leading up to the live event, Tubi is launching a series of brand-new nostalgic videos on TikTok featuring Wayans, Drescher, Hilton, Lawrence, and James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”).

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Other social media personalities on TikTok joining the event, include Suede Brooks, Zach Lugo, Chunkysdead, Tre Clements, Wisdom Kaye and Rodney Lee.

“We’ve seen a direct correlation between titles that trend on TikTok and the growth of those titles on Tubi, which serves as the prime viewing platform for TikTok users,” Natalie Bastian, VP of marketing for Tubi, said in a statement.

Ad-supported Tubi is rolling out pre-reunion nostalgia videos, ranging from TV celebrities reacting to their “favorite kisses” and “clapbacks” to “re-creating their TV looks from yesteryear.” TikTok users will be prompted to participate in two hashtag challenges: #AsSceneOnTubi that highlights well-known one liners from popular Tubi titles; and #TubiTaughtMe that will encourage enthusiasts to recreate nostalgic looks from their favorite Tubi titles.

Select user-generated content from these challenge videos will be featured in the live reunion special. From acting challenges with Marlon Wayans to a retro runway show where Paris Hilton sits front row, the live streaming special is jam-packed with programming geared towards the TikTok audience.

Fox Entertainment-owned Tubi has more than 30,000 movies and television series from over 250 content partners, including every major studio, in addition to the largest number of live local and national news channels.

Biden Ends Trump-Era War on China’s TikTok, WeChat Apps

President Biden June 9 signed an executive order effectively ending the former Trump Administration’s efforts to force a sale of Chinese-owned social media app TikTok to American business interests.

The order ends the former administration’s war on the WeChat app, a multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Chinese media giant Tencent. The Trump administration had sought the ban in the United States, citing national security risks.

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Biden’s order stipulates that the Commerce Department is now tasked with determining the potential security risks associated with software owned and operated by foreign adversaries, among other responsibilities.

“I have determined that additional consideration must be given in addressing the national emergency declared in [Trump’s] Executive Order 13873 of May 15, 2019, including the threat posed by certain connected software applications designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary,” Biden wrote in a letter to Congress explaining his executive order.

Trump last August issued an executive order mandating the ban unless TikTok sold its U.S. operations. An acquisition deal involving chip maker Oracle and Walmart for 20% in a newly configured ByteDance parent remains in the works, but has not been finalized.

A federal judge last September issued a preliminary injunction stopping Trump’s proposed ban that would have effectively stopped 100 million Americans who use TikTok for social messaging and commercial influencing.

The move wasn’t unprecedented considering China blocks its citizens from using American apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Netflix.

Regardless, the political posturing between the U.S. and China over TikTok saw its CEO Kevin Mayer, the former Disney executive who help launch Disney+, exit the company. Mayer was also COO of TikTok parent ByteDance.

In March, Mayer was named chairman of the DAZN sports-themed subscription streaming service.

Netflix Adding Comedy Clips to Mobile App

Netflix has begun rolling out short-form comedy clips for its mobile-centric subscribers. Taking a page from social media platform TikTok, Netflix’s clips — dubbed “Fast Laughs,” offer full-screen feed of funny clips from the streamer’s comedy catalog, including movie Murder Mystery; “Big Mouth” series; sitcom “The Crew,” and standup comedians Kevin Hart and Ali Wong, among others.

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“You access the feed through your bottom navigation menu by clicking on the Fast Laugh tab,” Patrick Flemming, director, product innovation, wrote in a blog post. “Clips will start playing — when one ends, another begins.”

Fast Laughs is available on iPhone in select countries, and will begin testing on Android devices in the near future, according to Flemming.

Ex-Disney+ Executive Kevin Mayer Named Chairman of DAZN Streaming Platform

Kevin Mayer, the former Disney executive who helped launch Disney+, and then departed to briefly head social media platform TikTok, has been named chairman of DAZN, a boxing-themed SVOD service.

Mayer replaces John Skipper, who will transition to Meadowlark Media, a DAZN subsidiary focused on developing original programming.

“As chairman, I’m looking forward to partnering with the management team and my fellow directors to help DAZN build on its impressive track record of success in developing a truly global sports platform,” Mayer said in a statement. “I’ve been impressed with DAZN’s ambitions and ability to quickly grow from a new entrant to an important player in key markets throughout the world. I look forward to guiding DAZN’s strategic development into its next chapter.”

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Mayer was previously chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International at The Walt Disney Company. There, he launched and ran the company’s streaming businesses, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Hotstar, as well as overseeing Disney’s global advertising sales, content sales, channels sales and international operations. Prior to that role, Mayer served as Disney’s chief strategy officer, leading the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 21st Century Fox and BamTech.

TikTok App Launching on Samsung Smart TVs

TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media video app, is coming to connected televisions for the first time. In a Dec. 14 announcement, TikTok said its app would be embedded in Samsung Smart TVs in the U.K., with further rollout across Europe planned in 2021. The deal does not include the U.S. for now. About 100 million Americans use the TikTok app on a monthly basis.

“The past year has dramatically changed the way we live, work and play,” Rich Waterworth, GM of the U.K. amd E.U. at TikTok, said in a statement. “More of us are spending time at home watching TV. This has led us to think about how we can bring the creativity and joy of TikTok to even more people across the U.K.”

Waterworth, a former executive at YouTube and ITV, said the app would not require registering an TikTok account. Viewers will have access to 12 content categories, including a portfolio of original content, including recipe hacks, comedy skits, and video challenges.

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The app will be available on all Samsung Smart TV models from 2018, which include 4K UHD and 8K TVs as well as Smart Monitor, The Premiere, The Frame and The Serif.

Federal Government Appeals TikTok Ban Injunction

The Justice Department Oct. 8 filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, saying the preliminary injunction issued last month delaying a ban of Chinese-owned social media video app TikTok should be lifted.

The injunction issued Sept. 27 by Judge Carl Nichols in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia prevented the Trump Administration from banning use of the TikTok app in the U.S. Trump alleges TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, remains a security threat by collecting data on U.S. users and storing it on Chinese-based servers.

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The ban, which also includes the WeChat app owned by Chinese media giant Tencent, is part of the administration’s ongoing Cold War with China that is partly based on politics and commercial trade between the world’s two largest economies.

Trump in August issued an executive order mandating the ban unless TikTok sold its U.S. operations. An acquisition deal involving chip maker Oracle and Walmart for 20% in a newly configured ByteDance parent remains in the works, but has not been finalized.

Trump’s ban could affect the 100 million Americans who use TikTok for social messaging and commercial influencing. At the same time, China has been blocking its citizens from using American apps such as Facebook, Twitter — and Netflix.

While Netflix is not a social media service, the world’s largest SVOD platform remains largely a non-player in China. In 2017, Netflix licensed select original content to iQiyi in the erstwhile communist country. That agreement reportedly ended last year due to limited consumer response, according to iQiyi CEO Gong Yu.

“We had an agreement with Netflix two years ago, but because of the verification system and users’ tastes, the effect wasn’t that great, so we didn’t continue the partnership,” Yu said in a media interview last year translated by CNBC.

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s TikTok Ban in the U.S.

With President Trump’s Aug. 6 executive order banning social media video app TikTok in the United States set to go into effect Sept. 27, a federal court judge in Washington D.C. has reportedly approved a preliminary injunction blocking the order.

Chinese-based TikTok owner ByteDance Sept. 23 filed for an expedited preliminary injunction against Trump’s executive order, calling it politically motivated and lacking in merit. The Trump Administration, which is involved in ongoing trade and ethnic Muslim disputes with China, argued the TikTok app posed a threat to national security. TikTok reportedly has more than 100 million U.S. users on a monthly basis.

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, who was appointed to the bench by Trump in 2019, reportedly felt TikTok had not been given the proper time to defend itself in court.

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“This was a largely unilateral decision with very little opportunity for plaintiffs to be heard,” said the judge as reported by the Washington Post.

Trump had initially given his public approval (in a North Carolina campaign rally) for a proposed TikTok asset sale to Oracle and Walmart. But when it was revealed that Oracle and Walmart would collectively own just 20% of new entity TikTok Global, with China controlling 80%, Trump changed his mind.

This is the second legal setback for Trump, who saw a second executive order banning China’s WeChat app overruled by a San Francisco federal magistrate, which cited First Amendment issues in ruling against the president.

TikTok Owner Seeks Injunction Stopping App Ban in the U.S.

ByteDance, the Chinese owner of social video platform TikTok, has filed for a preliminary injunction against the Trump Administration’s executive order banning U.S. access to the app, effective on Sept. 27. About 100 million Americans use TikTok on a monthly basis.

The request, filed Sept. 23 in the District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks to stop a DOJ mandate ordering Google and Apple to remove the TikTok app from their platforms on Sunday — in addition to ceasing to provide updates for current holders of the app.

ByteDance is currently in negotiations with Oracle and Walmart to sell 20% (for $20 billion) of a new corporate entity called TikTok Global. Trump last weekend publicly gave his approval of deal — until he found out the Chinese would still own 80% of the company. Oracle reportedly said the sale would preclude ByteDance from owning the TikTok app outright.

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Regardless, the Chinese government would have to approve of any deal, which seems increasingly unlikely following reports in the government-owned English newspaper China Times, which called the transaction “dirty and unfair,” and based on “bullying and corruption.”

The Trump Administration, which eyes TikTok as a threat to national security, continues to engage in a war of words with China over trade and technology.

ByteDance says the security fears are overblown and political in nature.

“There is simply no genuine emergency here that would justify the government’s precipitous actions,” read the filing. “And there is no plausible reason to insist the prohibitions be enforced immediately.”

Trump Wants Oracle/TikTok Deal, Which Now Includes Walmart, to Include $5 Billion for Educational Programs

President Trump has big plans for TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media app and video platform currently in sale talks with Oracle — and Walmart.

Speaking Sept. 19 at a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Trump said the proposed executive order banning TikTok in the United States had been delayed a week so the reported $20 billion sale of TikTok in the U.S. by parent ByteDance to Oracle and Walmart could be finalized. The retail behemoth had previously been associated with a joint bid with Microsoft that had been rejected. TikTok has about 100 million users in the United States.

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Under the proposed deal reported by CNN Business, which needs to be approved by Chinese regulators, TikTok would relocate its headquarters to Texas, hiring 25,000 workers in the process. More importantly, TikTok would store user data on Oracle servers rather than on the current Chinese-based servers — which had prompted initial concerns by the Trump Administration over cyber and national security.

“I’ve given the deal my blessing,” Trump said. “If it gets done, that’s great. If they don’t that’s OK, too.”

It’s been reported that Trump is seeking $5 billion from the “TikTok Global” transaction to help fund an educational project the president claims “can educate people as to real history of our country — the real history, not the fake history.”

Both Oracle and Walmart — as publicly held companies — are not legally obligated to fund Trump’s educational project.

Trump is proposing the fund in response to the “1619 Project,” which was started by The New York Times in 2019 on the 400th anniversary of slavery in the United States. The project aims to put consequences of slavery and contributions of black Americans as its main theme but has been criticized by historians.

Trump previously tweeted that planned rollout of the “1619 Project” in public schools in California would not be supported by the federal government.

“Department of Education is looking at this,” Trump tweeted earlier this month. “If so, they will not be funded.”