TikTok now has a dedicated 'channel' on Southeast Asian SVoD Iflix, on which it will tease a curated collection of its top user videos in hopes of attracting new users.
The shortform video network has struck a partnership with Malaysia-headquartered Iflix to distribute compilations of its viral videos on the streaming platform, with the intention of "increasing awareness and exposure of its app's offerings", the company said in a release.
The dedicated 'channel' features within Iflix Snacks, the streaming service's shortform section. It currently has 23 videos on offer, ranging from '10 best #EpicFail videos' to 'Outfit of the day' to 'Dogs are babies' bestfriends'.
TikTok has promised a variety of different programs—beyond the current video compilations—is lined up for the rest of the year.
Iflix is currently available in 13 countries across Asia: Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Maldives, Cambodia, Nepal, and Bangladesh. It claims to have more than 25 million subscribers on its service.
By comparison, TikTok is said to be available in 155 countries—and in China as Douyin. Although it does not release its official user numbers, reports have pegged its global monthly active user base at 800 million.
Cheah Sheau Mei, user and content operations manager, TikTok Malaysia, said: “With short-form content rising in demand, today’s partnership with Iflix couldn’t have come at a more opportune time as we look forward to serving millions of users with content that they desire and enjoy. This increasing trend is a precursor for consumer consumption habits all over the world, and more and more companies are beginning to leverage this as part of their content strategy.”
Iflix chief content officer Mark Francis acknowledged the popularity of TikTok on the user-generated content space, "especially amongst the coveted millennial and Gen-z demo", he said.
"With the addition of their curated short-form video collections in our Snacks library, Iflix affirms its commitment to delivering even more on-trend formats for the benefit of our users," he added.
This is very peculiar. It would make sense if a social network that was investing in original content—like Facebook and YouTube are doing with Watch and Premium respectively—decided to strike a partnership with an OTT platform to increase the distribution of this content with an engaged subscriber base. But TikTok is not investing in original TV-like content (that we know of), so this partnership seems to be more geared at using Iflix as a marketing tool.
It's definitely not geared around scale, since OTT platforms have a much smaller user base than social networks (see TikTok's reported userbase versus Iflix's). If TikTok wanted scale, they would have opted for a YouTube channel. But it could be they saw an opportunity to reach a young, engaged audience they could convert into loyal users—the holy grail for social networks. Where OTT platforms' main challenge is finding subscribers, social networks care more about usage—how long you are in their app and clicking around, so they can sell you more advertising.
It makes sense that TikTok wants to showcase what its users do on its platform in a more approachable way, since its app interface is very noisy and hard to navigate for new users, plus there's a fair amount of people that don't really "get" what TikTok actually is. I'm dubious how much crossover there is between Iflix's subscriber base and TikTok's target demographic, though. Will they actually click on a TikTok branded 'channel', watch the videos, and be so inspired they head straight to an app store? Because there's not currently a 'click to install' button or an easy way to convert subscribers. For Iflix, it's just a sexy name to add to their portfolio.