Many of the top news publishers in the UK and US are rapidly growing their followers on Tiktok, according to a Press Gazette analysis.
Since May last year, BBC News has dramatically increased its number of followers from 35,200 to 784,200 in January 2023, an increase of over 2000%.
The Evening Standard has increased its followers from 31,700 to 239,400 (up 655%). Meanwhile, US-based health information and news site Healthline has grown its followers from a smaller starting point of 1,722 to 11,100 (a 545% increase).
Sky News, which recently reported that it was one of the fastest growing news brands on Tiktok in the 12 months to November 2022, as well as the most followed UK news station on the platform, increased his number of followers by 200% since May. to reach 3.3 million.
While news providers who joined the app early in many cases will have already amassed a large following of over a million and will naturally have seen their relative growth slow in compared to brands that joined the app later, an analysis of the absolute number of followers added shows how early adopters are helping to contribute to Tiktok’s growing news reach.
Among the sites we looked at for growth, Ladbible added the highest number of followers since May (2.7 million), followed by Sky News (2.2 million), US network ABC News (1.5 million) and Vice World News (1.4 million).
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Since Tiktok doesn’t make public follower growth on the platform, Press Gazette used Social Blade, a third-party social media analytics tool, to see how big news brands’ followings have grown in recent months.
The chart below includes follower growth for the largest sites in the top 50 UK and US Press Gazette news rankings tracked by Social Blade. Since not all news brands are tracked, the following analysis is intended to be illustrative rather than a comprehensive list of the fastest growing brands on Tiktok. We tracked the growth of news brands starting in May 2022, as Social Blade tracks the majority of accounts in our analysis since at least that month.
If you think your news brand should be listed, please email email@example.com with your historical Tiktok follower count.
Since its launch in the UK in 2018, Tiktok has become a major force in social media. Initially, most news organizations had a marginal presence on the app or, in the case of some like BBC News, avoided it altogether. 2022, however, marked a major shift in news brands’ popularity and use of Tiktok.
According to an Ofcom report published last year, Tiktok is the fastest growing news source for UK adults.
A survey of 300 news leaders from around the world by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism earlier this week found that Tiktok is the platform where newsrooms plan to step up their efforts the most in 2023 to help to attract the young audience. Another Reuters Institute report on Tiktok last year revealed that nearly half (49%) of top publishers in dozens of countries are now active on Tiktok.
Among the factors that have helped news brands increase their reach on Tiktok is the busy news cycle of 2022.
Sky News gained 230,000 new followers on the day of the Queen’s funeral alone, according to figures shared with the Press Gazette by the broadcaster. Sky News also gained 600,000 new followers in the first five days of the war in Ukraine. The Vice World News account similarly rose in popularity during the war, gaining 900,000 new followers in the first three weeks after the invasion.
Who are the top Tiktok news publishers?
To identify the top news publishers on Tiktok, we did our latest ranking of the top 50 UK and US news sites and analyzed the current follower count (as of January 11) of those with a presence on Tiktok When brands had more than one account, for example in different languages, we looked at the primary account.
Of these sites, the youth-focused publisher Ladbible had the largest number of followers with 11.4 million people. It was followed by ABC News (4.7 million). The Daily Mail, in third place with 4.3 million followers, was the highest ranked newspaper brand. His most-viewed video of last year was viewed 9.6 million times, publisher Press Gazette said.
The DMGT-owned brand has invested heavily in its social media presence, even on newer networks like Snapchat, where it has a team of 35 people.
Fellow British brand Sky News was Tiktok’s fifth-largest news provider with 3.3 million followers, behind NBC (4 million).
The desire to reach audiences is driving UK publishers to embrace Tiktok.
“Publishers in the UK are really concerned about access and audiences, and that’s the imperative both for public service broadcasters whose audiences are no longer reaching TV, and also for subscription publishers who are really looking for the next generation of subscribers,” said Nic Newman of the Reuters Institute. Last year’s press release.
While large followings are helpful, unlike other platforms, they are not the only way to be successful. Tiktok’s algorithm means that content creators with relatively smaller followings can still get a large number of views. The same Reuters Tiktok Institute report from last year showed how some publishers, such as The Sun, give the app a hard time. The British tabloid had as many video views as Sky News, despite having a third of the broadcaster’s followers.
Changes to the platform have helped make Tiktok more attractive to news publishers. The video length that can be uploaded to the platform gradually increased from 30 seconds to ten minutes, allowing for more explanatory and in-depth content.
The income opportunities on the platform are, however, still limited. There is no direct way to monetize content on Tiktok through a share of ad revenue from videos, although some form of revenue sharing advertising is expected to be introduced to Tiktok this year.
Concerns about monetization mean that while some publishers see Tiktok as an opportunity to connect with Gen Z audiences and experiment with vertical video, others like the New York Times are still choosing to stay away.
“Publishers are very ambivalent about Tiktok,” Newman told Press Gazette’s Future of Media podcast this week. “[Our report on Tiktok in December] it showed that half were on Tiktok and half were not on Tiktok and many of those who were not on Tiktok had no plans to go on Tiktok because they were worried about the fact that there would be no income.
“But if you just look at it from an audience point of view, it’s obviously growing very fast. It’s where the young people are and that’s why we see publishers in [our news leaders survey] saying they’re going to put a lot more effort into it this year.”
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