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TikTok Launches Celebrity-Hosted, Daily Live-Streams to help Lighten the Mood Amid COVID-19 Lockdowns

TikTok has this week launched a new entertainment and information initiative to help lighten the mood amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, while also giving users a chance to ask questions of experts and engage with celebrities on the platform.

Called #HappyAtHome, the initiative will see well-known musicians, actors, comedians and more shares a series of live-streams on the platform at 5 pm, every day of next week.

As explained by TikTok:

“We’ve partnered with a wide range of amazing celebrities and creators to launch something special: #HappyAtHome: LIVE!, a week of nightly programming that kicks off today at 5:00 PM PDT and will run each evening through Friday. The goal is simple: share in a bit of levity, provide some comfort, and embrace the responsibility we all have to do the right thing by staying inside and stopping the spread. There’s a lot we can’t do right now, but this is one small way we can all help each other during these trying times.”

It’s unclear how long TikTok plans to run the program for, but it has an impressive list of celebrities lined up for the initial week of the initiative:

  • Motivation Monday: We’re kicking off the week with inspirational talks, workouts, dance classes, and cooking tips featuring Tyra Banks, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Derek Hough, twitch & Allison Holker, and Eitan Bernath.
  • Kick Back Tuesday: Join some of TikTok’s most popular creators for game night, makeup tutorials, and chat sessions with the likes of Loren Gray, Charli D’Amelio, Adam Ray, and Addison Rae.
  • Show & Tell Wednesday: Hear from Dear Evan Hansen star Jordan Fisher, step into magic tricks with Zach King, keep it real with the iconic actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross, and much more from TikTok’s diverse community of creators.
  • EduTok Thursday: We’re teaming up with the likes of Dr. Phil and Bill Nye for thoughtful conversations, advice, and life tips you don’t want to miss. We will also continue to Livestream Q&A sessions with the World Health Organization (WHO), which kicked off last week.
  • Sound Check Friday: Wind down your week and get pumped for the weekend with intimate performances from top artists’ homes to yours. Join GRAMMY award winner and host Alicia Keys, with Jason Derulo, Megan Thee Stallion, Troye Sivan, Meghan Trainor, Yungblud, Hailee Steinfeld, Lauv, Kelsea Ballerini, and DJ Khaled for a night of music, stories and major keys. 

Note the educational element, with streams from the WHO also highlighted. The aim of the project is not only to provide people with entertainment but also education on the current situation – and to underline that ‘stay home’ message.

This is an interesting time for TikTok, which has seen a significant rise in interest over the past year, and was still in the midst of its ascendance when the COVID-19 crisis hit. TikTok isn’t yet in a position where it’s generating significant revenue in western markets, and as such, its operations are at least somewhat covered by the revenue being generated by its Chinese sister app, Douyin, which generates the majority of its revenue through eCommerce integrations.

As time goes on, you would expect that TikTok would also be looking to eCommerce tools to maximize its revenue potential – and maybe, right now is the best time for the platform to make a move on this front, and start to integrate shopping options into TikTok clips.

It’ll be interesting to see what TikTok does on this front – but in the immediate term, the app’s focus continues to be on raising awareness, and getting as many users as possible coming back to its app. The opportunity for TikTok is now, so it’s logical for it to be making such a significant investment in getting well-known celebrities to broadcast within the app, in order to diversify its audience reach. Attracting fans of these stars will help to further TikTok’s awareness effort, even branching into older audience groups via celebrities with large, dedicated followings.

It’s a good move by TikTok, and while questions remain over the app’s longer-term viability and process, their little doubts its potential to attract a crowd.

Next, it has to ensure it can keep them – and then, to convince them to spend in-app.