#66 New TikTok CEO from Disney Plus

First let’s start with Kevin’s story…

Kevin Mayer, who led the launch of Disney plus as Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer & International division of The Walt Disney Company, was announced to become the new CEO of TikTok. He was once considered as the successor of Bob Iger, ex-CEO of Disney, but instead, Bob Chapek was selected for the role in Feb. In his book ‘Ride of a lifetime’, Iger described the grueling 6-month interview process for his CEO role despite him being the internal candidate. I would imagine going through the process and not getting picked must have been really painful to Kevin. Now he grabbed the opportunity of TikTok CEO.

Now TikTok story…

TikTok, the Chinese-owned company, needed legitimacy getting into US market. Kevin’s immediate crucial role will be dealing with privacy pressure from Washington and creating the steady stream of advertising. The company has been attracting high profile executives from tech world - Erich Anderson, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel and Vanessa Pappas, YouTube’s Global Head of Creative Insights. Now they got Kevin. They are on-the-roll.

Some of you might still be wondering what TikTok is?

TikTok is a video sharing app. It is like a mash-up of the now defunct Vine and Facebook’s News Feed. Users upload 15-to-60-second-long videos that can be set to music clips. Their target age group? Teenagers. The company experienced phenomenal growth after its launch in Aug 2018. Especially this shelter-in-place boosted its growth further. It reached 2 billion download in Q1 2020, the number which passed by only Facebook, What’s app, and Instagram before TikTok. Of course, all of the three, Facebook, What’s app, and Instagram, are owned by Facebook.

TikTok’s Main Growth hacking strategies?

It is capitalizing on meme culture. Much of their early success can be attributed to celebrities marketing like Jimmy Fallon and Cardi B. Their digital advertising spending is also known to be aggressive via Facebook, traditional billboard ads, TV, etc.

Why is TikTok so attractive as a platform to creators (and to advertisers)? (by Ben Leavitt’s Youtube )

  1. Automatic integration of music into pop culture. It is a trend machine.

  2. No social pressure that is attached to social contents.

  3. Algorithm is favorable to creators. It ensures to be shown to new set of users. (In Instagram, the organic growth is limited)

  4. Overnight success is very possible for creators, enticing more creators. More creators in the platform increases further legitimacy. Virtuous circle.

  5. Insane business potential from both organic and paid.

My final thoughts -

Rita McGrath, a professor in Colombia Business School, already mentioned the foreseeable demise of Facebook in her book ‘Seeing around the corner’ in 2019. In China, there was Tencent’s WeChat, before Douyin (Chinese name of TikTok). In the US, there were Facebook, Instagram, What’s app, Snapchat, Twitter, before TikTok. Companies rise and fall. I am already thinking ‘Who will be the next Tiktok’?

Lastly, TikTok is the first Chinese company cracking US market. How will our privacy concerns impact TikTok’s long-term growth?

What are your thoughts? Please comment if any of the facts are wrong.

Sources:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tiktok-appoints-erich-andersen-as-global-general-counsel-300992751.html

https://cheddar.com/media/tiktok-hires-youtube-exec-vanessa-pappas-to-lead-us

https://techcrunch.com/2020/04/29/tiktok-tops-2-billion-downloads/

Kevin Mayer named COO of ByteDance and Tiktok

Tiktok - Why it is so attractive as a platform to creators

(I read a lot more than this.)