The booming platform offers fast growth and huge engagement to media how learn how to use it
Last week TikTok became the first non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion downloads globally. The app now has over 1 billion monthly active users from 150 countries. According to the Digital News Report 2021, TikTok reaches 24% of under-35s (although just 7% use the platform for news).
There is little comprehensive data or research available on publishers’ performance on TikTok. The Fix came up with the list of top 20 European media accounts on TikTok, looking at their performance and content.
[Editor’s note: We have expanded our previous ranking to include a broader range of news content producers (e.g., broadcasters, infotainment), reflecting the complex and blurred nature of the current publishing space on social media.]
Digital natives/ Gen Z media stepping up
Once mainly associated with lip-syncing and dances, TikTok is seeing a boom in policy arguments and political debates. Most debates, however, are not led by journalists, but influencers, celebrities and ordinary people.
Does this mean that the media representatives have to worry about losing a large audience of Tiktok users? Not necessarily. Numerous European media are already experimenting – and succeeding – with different content strategies.
Still, legacy media should not feel too comfortable. A growing body of digital natives, who live and breathe social media culture, is stepping up. Indeed, it comes with a little bit of surprise that the Spanish online publisher ac2alityespanol is leading the league with 2.7 million followers.
Apart from being present on TikTok, ac2alityespanol has its accounts on Twitch.tv, Instagram and Youtube. Its videos on TikTok touch upon a large variety of topics including politics, sports, and technology (posting as much, if not more than heavyweights like the Daily Mail or BBC).
ac2alityespanol combines different content strategies, mainly focusing on news, explainers and journalist vlogs. Most importantly, the content is easy to digest and reported in an entertaining way.
Other fast-rising European media include Spanish publisher Xataka and German magazine Chip_de. Both are focused on technology, gadgets and communications.
A path forward for broadcasters?
Half of the top 20 list are broadcasters (both radio and TV), suggesting the ability to work with video or audio content may make it easier to develop content for new mediums. Indeed, the group includes TV stations and radios from across the continent – from the BBC and France’s BFMTV to Ukraine’s 1+1.
Belarusian Radio Svaboda, an edge case (historically a radio, now mostly digital publication, grew during the height of the revolution last Autumn but has since stagnated.
While British tabloid Daily Mail comes in second with 2.5 million followers, it is followed by Germany’s Tagesschau, the television news service by ARD. (It is worth noting that instead of reporting news, the Daily Mail publishes entertainment videos and inspiring stories).
Tagesschau offers its audience both news and explainers on social and political issues presented by passionate and witty hosts. Tagesschau’s account is a perfect example of how local and international news can be reported on TikTok in both an entertaining and respectful way.
Many of the region’s broadcasters are struggling with the decline in funding and/ or TV viewership. While it is too early to tell, the data suggests that TikTok may play a big, and growing, role in their futures.
Looking for growth
Compared to the data from May 2021, The growth for almost all the selected media is noticeable. Italian national newspaper’s Corriere dello Sportshowed the highest growth – 95% within just two months!
Along with Corriere dello Sport, Daily Mail (32%)andLe Monde (25 %)have the highest growth rates. Relatively small opposition media in the CEE region – Russian Novaya Gazeta (24%) and Belarusian tut.by (16%), also have high growth rates.
This is especially noteworthy in the light of increasing government pressure on free media both in Russia and Belarus. Novaya Gazeta has recently been subject to threats and attacks from the authorities. Notably, in May Belarus authorities blocked the website of tut.by. Yet, they continue to expand their coverage on social media platforms including TikTok, Telegram and Instagram with a growing number of subscribers.
Needless to say, the media market is constantly evolving and publishers need to keep their fingers on the pulse. Building engaging accounts on TikTok can at very least help publishers develop a stronger relationship with audience, especially those on the younger end.
This piece was originally published in The Fix and is re-published with permission. The Fix is a solutions-oriented publication focusing on the European media scene. Subscribe to its weekly newsletter here.