TikTok Newsletter 46

Sportschau vs Sportstudio. Garden of Good. Beautification


This is Understanding TikTok your weekly TikTok newsletter. My name is Marcus.

I am neither a big fan of boxing nor soccer. Nevertheless i see it as my duty to inform you that The Battle of the Platforms (YouTubers vs. TikTokers) is a thing now. A bunch of influencers slogging it out with each other, as The Tab writes. 🥊 If you want to dig deeper get to know Bryce Hall.

The battle is real. TikTok supersedes YouTube as VidCon’s title sponsor 2021. VidCon is one of the largest online video tech conferences. “Seeing it [YouTube] lose its hold as the leading platform for online communities … feels like an end of an era”, writes Embedded.

Today we talk about:

⚽ Sportschau vs Sportstudio
🥕 Garden of Good
🪞 Beautification

⚽ Sportschau vs Sportstudio

Okay, let’s talk about soccer. The 2020 UEFA EURO 2020 (quadrennial international men's football championship of Europe organised by the Union of European Football Associations) started June 11. Guess what?! TikTok is official sponsor and “the first digital entertainment platform to partner with the UEFA EURO” More infos over in the TikTok newsroom (english / german).

I was staggered to see that ARD, a joint organisation of Germany's regional public-service broadcasters streamed the opening game on their brand new @sportschau account that had just launched. Sportschau is a German sports magazine on broadcaster ARD’s national television network, called Das Erste ("The First"). It has been around since 1961, with an app (iOS & Android) since 2011 and a TikTok channel since June 9, 2021. Just 2,5 month after the launch of @sportstudio.

Wait, what?! That is confusing and a lot of sport. Well, Sportstudio is another German sports magazine on broadcaster ZDF (“Second German Television”). It has been around since 1963. Disclaimer: I helped to pitch a TikTok channel strategy that was among the top three but unfortunately lost. 🤷

Takeaways here: Both public TV broadcasters in Germany are active on TikTok now. Check my full list of german media here. Two of the most traditional and mainstream sport programs are now on TikTok. I leave it to further university papers to fully compare strategies, visual language, comments section, etc. Great material for further analysis waiting here. Just take the bottle-snatching trend started by Cristiano Ronaldo. This is the ARD approach. This is the ZDF approach. Which one do you prefer?

🥕Garden of Good

TikTok is helping games about high heels and long nails go viral. Do you remember that headline? There is something new. As always. TikTok is finally exploring gaming 🎮, tweets Max Lowenthal.  Planting carrots might remind you of Farmville (The original FarmVille on Facebook is shutting down, 2020) and indeed the app also comes with classic mobile gaming tactics, including in-game currency and achievements. 

But unlike Farmville, Garden of Good calls on TikTokers to engage in some wholesome fun while standing up for a good cause, writes Distractify. The game notes: “For each pound of virtual crop an eligible participant harvests during the Program period, TikTok will donate $0.10 to Feeding America. It also states that TikTok will donate a minimum of $150,000 and a maximum of $5,000,000.”

Is this a peculiar evil way to drag people on the platform in order to inconspicuously keep them there lead to believe that they are doing good while being exposed to way more ads? A Trojan horse 🎠? A progressive strategy?  Or is this just a clever way of combining different goals? I’d be interested to get an evaluation by NGOs like e.g. Games For Change. Meanwhile here is an article on How ByteDance plans to crack the gaming industry and here is a TikTok guide for indie game devs — Top 10 tips to make the tok tik.


While some people on TikTok (e.g. Denise Mercedes) are using the app to promote Body Positivity, as Vogue reports, TikTok changes the shape of some people’s faces without asking, MIT Technology Review writes. 

Reporter Abby Ohlheiser: “I reached out to TikTok, and the effect stopped appearing two days later. The company later acknowledged in a short statement that there was an issue that had been resolved, but did not provide further details. On the surface it was an odd, temporary issue that affected some users and not others. But it was also forcibly changing people’s appearance—an important glitch for an app that is used by around 100 million people in the US.”

Meanwhile “everyone on TikTok is using a Snapchhat filter to make their own Pixar film” tweets Sophia Smith Galer. Here is a How to use Snapchat's cartoon lenses: Morph into a Disney or Pixar character. I guess we will all turn into Bitmoji, Memoji (just like the Apple leadership) or a Facebook Avatar. I’d rather become a person that does not exist.🕴️

What else?

🌋 TikTok owner ByteDance launched the Volcano Engine brand on Thursday to offer its personalised recommendation algorithm to more corporate clients, as the Chinese company seeks to expand beyond its mainstay consumer apps. ByteDance's recommendation system is considered the "secret sauce" in its success with apps including TikTok (Reuters).

🧳 One reason for the growth of travel TikToks is that they successfully impart useful advice (National Geographic) This TikTok outback guide attracts 750,000 virtual tourists to South Australia (ABC)

🧑‍🎨 “Creator” and “influencer”. Who is who?  Influencers are seen as trading in the calculated depiction of an “authentic lifestyle,” while “creators” are held to a different standard of realness in representations (Real Life Mag).

I go back now watching these fine young men while listening to The Lemonheads.

Speak soon. Ciao. Marcus