TikTok’s VP of global business solutions, Blake Chandlee, joined Variety co-editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton for a fireside chat during the Variety Entertainment Summit, in partnership with CES 2021.
The impact TikTok has made in such a short period of time continues to be a perplexing and attention-grabbing phenomenon in the digital and social media spheres, especially given the proliferation of new platforms in recent years.
2020 in particular was a large year of growth for TikTok, and while Chandlee expected it to be as such at the start, he was not prepared for the events both global and stateside that would push people to express themselves through the video-sharing platform.
“2020 was an interesting year by any measure, as you can imagine,” he said. “From our perspective, what started out as what we thought would be an amazing growth year quickly shifted as COVID came in and people started working from home, and then we had Black Lives Matter.”
“[Growth] probably shouldn’t have come as any surprise given the platform is a content platform, it’s an entertainment platform,” he reminded, but stressed that there is a wider universal appreciation and adoption of TikTok across all generations now.
“Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy and I think we did that throughout the year, in a year when a lot of people really appreciated it and needed some of that on a daily basis,” he continued, going on to describe the shifts he noticed taking place.
“Diversity in content, and the kinds of creators that were creating content on the platform, went from pretty simple offering[s] to diversity around cooking and DIY and education,” he explained. “We had these amazing creators just tell inspiring stories all year long and that just continued, which then led to the adoption of the platform for a variety of audiences.”
“So diversification of our audience base went from a relatively younger audience, i.e. Gen Z, to an audience that spanned multi-generations, and I think it’s all based around storytelling,” he concluded.