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Clip it Up: Riding the TikTok TV Wave

In recent years, the surge of short video clips on TikTok has become a groundbreaking trend, presenting a golden opportunity for TV producers and content creators. This phenomenon not only breathes new life into older catalogues but also offers a unique platform for testing fresh content. With TikTok now beginning to monetize these offerings, understanding the rights you hold and exploiting them in every way possible has never been more crucial.

A middle aged man watching something on his phone with headphones on.

The Unlicensed Goldmine: Millions of Views Up for Grabs

The phenomenon of unlicensed show cutdowns on TikTok is creating a stir, amassing millions of views and uncovering a substantial, untapped market for producers. These clips, ranging from beloved snippets of classic TV shows to segments of more recent broadcasts, are resonating with a diverse and vast audience. Notably, the virality of these clips is not just limited to well-known content; it also includes material from bygone eras and underappreciated shows. This trend has led to a resurgence of interest in original programming, often catalyzing a secondary wave of popularity and viewership, sometimes years after the original airing.

This unexpected and unprecedented use of content represents both challenges and opportunities for creators and rights holders. On one hand, producers are discovering that their content, even from decades past or those that initially garnered minimal attention, is gaining significant traction on TikTok without any deliberate marketing. This phenomenon is not just breathing new life into old classics but also giving a second chance to content that was overlooked or undervalued at its time of release. These developments are prompting a reevaluation of content strategies, encouraging producers to delve into their archives and rethink the potential of their entire catalogues.

On the other hand, this trend underscores a massive potential for strategic content release on TikTok. By embracing this movement and establishing a formal presence on the platform, producers can exercise greater control over their content's narrative. This approach not only helps in capitalizing on the platform's enormous user base but also in navigating the intricacies of content rights and ownership. Producers can now harness the power of their archived and underappreciated content, turning what was once considered dormant or marginal into a vibrant, engaging, and potentially lucrative asset on one of today's most influential social media platforms.

The Era of Short Attention Spans: A New Opportunity

The prevailing trend of diminishing attention spans is transforming content consumption, but it doesn't spell the end for long-form content. Instead, it highlights the need for a nuanced approach to content strategy. While platforms like Netflix still thrive on longer narratives, TikTok has become the epicentre for short-form content. This divergence in content styles presents a unique opportunity for producers: instead of trying to redirect audiences from TikTok to long-form platforms, they can engage with them directly on TikTok, delivering the type of content these users seek.

This strategy recognizes a fundamental shift in viewing habits. Modern audiences, especially on platforms like TikTok, are not necessarily averse to longer narratives, but their primary engagement on such platforms revolves around quicker, more digestible content. It's a matter of context and expectation – on TikTok, users anticipate and prefer short, impactful clips. Producers can capitalize on this by creating content that not only aligns with these expectations but also serves as a teaser or gateway to their longer-form content.

Producers can lure TikTok's massive user base by crafting concise, engaging clips that effectively capture the essence of their shows' essence. This approach doesn't diminish the value of longer narratives; instead, it serves as an innovative tool to garner interest and potentially guide viewers towards more in-depth content experiences. It’s about meeting audiences where they are and delivering what they want in that specific context.

In essence, the key lies in balancing the allure of short, snappy content with the depth and storytelling of longer forms. Producers must navigate this dual landscape skillfully, using platforms like TikTok not just as ends in themselves but as integral parts of a broader content ecosystem. This strategic approach enables producers to maximize engagement across different formats, leveraging the strengths of each to build a more diverse and robust content portfolio.

Revitalizing Content: The Art of Clipping

In the realm of TikTok, the art of clipping, as showcased by shows like "Ambulance" and "Pawn Stars," transcends mere segment cutting. It's an exercise in creativity, repurposing content to resonate with a new, digitally savvy generation. By infusing clips with fresh, creative elements such as catchy captions or vibrant graphics, creators are tailoring these snippets to captivate TikTok’s audience. This approach breathes new life into the clips, making them more than just excerpts from existing shows – they become standalone pieces of engaging content that can draw in new viewers and rekindle interest in the original series.

A key aspect of this revitalization is the focus on immediacy and impact. In an environment where users scroll rapidly through content, the clipped segments are carefully selected for their ability to dive straight into compelling moments, offering instant gratification and cutting out any superfluous content. This 'straight-to-the-point' strategy ensures that each clip delivers maximum entertainment or information value from the first second, keeping viewers hooked and more likely to engage with the content.

This process also embodies a trial-and-error approach, encouraging producers to take calculated risks with their content. The dynamic nature of TikTok demands experimentation; not every clip will be a hit, but the platform allows for rapid testing and learning. Producers can experiment with different types of clips, varying lengths, styles, and themes, to discover what resonates best with the audience. This constant experimentation is crucial – it’s about understanding the pulse of TikTok users and adapting content strategies accordingly. What works on traditional TV or other social media platforms may not have the same impact on TikTok, making this a unique challenge.

Moreover, this strategy is about more than just engaging viewers; it’s about transforming the way content is consumed and perceived. By repurposing and enhancing clips, producers are not only extending the lifespan of their shows but are also reaching demographics that might not have originally tuned in. This approach opens up a world of possibilities for producers to reinvent and revitalize their catalogues, extending both the relevance and profitability of their content in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Decoding TikTok’s Algorithm: A Producer’s Guide

Decoding the mysteries of TikTok's algorithm is a critical challenge for content producers, offering unique insights into maximizing platform presence. The algorithm's apparent preference for landscape-oriented and longer clips (over one minute) provides a strategic advantage. Aligning content with these evolving trends is key to boosting visibility and engagement. However, understanding TikTok's algorithm requires more than just following trends; it's about embracing a mindset of exploration and adaptability.

Delving deeper into TikTok's enigmatic algorithm, producers must remember that its exact workings are relatively unknown. Therefore, agility in content creation and adaptation is crucial. The platform’s algorithm tends to reward content that sparks engagement and viewer interest, meaning that producers need to consistently iterate and evolve their strategies to find the sweet spot for their specific audience.

In terms of monetization, TikTok's Creator Fund is a game-changer for producers, transforming creative expression into a viable revenue stream. This fund provides financial incentives for high-performing content, aligning artistic success with financial rewards. Understanding the criteria and dynamics of the Creator Fund is crucial for producers aiming to leverage this opportunity. It's not just about creating engaging content; it's about creating content that performs exceptionally well within the framework of TikTok's algorithm and user preferences.

The Creator Fund’s introduction signals a broader shift in social media platforms, recognizing them as significant sources of revenue for content creators. For producers, this means incorporating TikTok into their broader distribution and monetization strategy is more important than ever. This dual focus on aligning with the algorithm and maximizing monetization potential represents a holistic approach to succeeding on TikTok.

Ultimately, thriving on TikTok involves creativity, strategic thinking, and an experimental mindset. Producers must be willing to constantly test, learn, and adapt, harnessing the platform’s immediate feedback loops to refine their content strategy continuously. By embracing the nuances of TikTok’s algorithm and capitalizing on monetization opportunities, producers can turn their TikTok channels into not just creative showcases but lucrative business ventures.


Billy Arthur, a young man with short brown hair.

About the Author

Billy Arthur is the 22-year-old Managing Director of Enderley Pictures, a Royal Television Society and BAFTA-award-winning production company renowned for its premium, critically acclaimed documentaries, which have sold around the world. He most recently Executive Produced 'Forging Fate: The Disappearing Art Dealer', due for release in Spring 2024.


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