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TikTok Appoints New CEO in Disney Executive Kevin Mayer



Wow, TikTok must have offered Kevin Mayer a lot of money to take on this role.

Today, The New York Times has reported that Disney executive Kevin Mayer, who recently helped oversee the successful, global launch of the company’s new Disney+ platform, has taken on the role of TikTok CEO, while he’ll also serve as the COO of parent company Bytedance, which is based in China.

Well, technically – according to NYT:

“A TikTok spokesman on Monday stressed that TikTok was not owned by a Beijing-based company. Instead, its parent company, ByteDance Ltd., is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, though he could not say how many people are based there. That entity owns TikTok and all of the businesses in China, he said.”

So ByteDance is actually now based in the tax haven that is the Cayman Islands, which will maybe serve as another tool for TikTok to distance itself from its Chinese Government associations. But that probably won’t work.

But either way, Mayer, who was on a base salary of more than 1.25m at Disney, will now move to TikTok. No financial details of the appointment were provided, but given the challenges Mayer will now face, it’s pretty safe to assume it was a substantial package.

Those challenges have started pretty much immediately, with US senator Josh Hawley noting that TikTok now has a local, US-based executive to front up to a Congressional hearing over if and how TikTok gathers and shares data with the Chinese Government.

TikTok has repeatedly noted that it doesn’t store any US user data in China, though many security officials remain unconvinced. The UK Ministry of Defence issued an internal directive last month that TikTok is not to be used by staff, citing the app’s likely exposure to the Chinese regime, while both the US and Australian military have initiated similar bans on the app.

Late last year, the Australian Strategic Policy institute published a report in which it suggested that TikTok is “using its global scale to advance Beijing’s political agenda”, among other security-based criticisms of the app.

Those concerns look set to hamper TikTok’s expansion moving forward, which is why it’s so keen to shake them off – but the existing regulations still suggest that TikTok, under Chinese-owned Bytedance, is required to provide user data to the Chinese Government on request.

The regulation is part of China’s cybersecurity laws, which state that all Chinese-owned companies must furnish Chinese government requests for user data on demand, without question. Again, TikTok will say that it doesn’t store US user data in China – but that may not matter. If TikTok owns the data, and Bytedance is asked to provide it, it seems likely that it would need to do so, regardless of where such data might, technically, be kept.

TikTok’s incoming Chief Information Security Officer Roland Cloutier was actually very careful in how he worded this element in his introductory post, in which he outlined his immediate priorities.

“Although we already have controls in place to protect user data, we will continue to focus on adding new technologies and programs focused on global data residency, data movement, and data storage access protections worldwide. Our goal is to minimize data access across regions so that, for example, employees in the APAC region, including China, would have very minimal access to user data from the EU and US.”

“Very minimal” is a relative term. How much access does someone, or something, need for it to be a concern?

But then again, as noted, maybe TikTok’s working to get off on a technicality – maybe Mayer will be coming into a situation where TikTok is actually based in the Caymans, which will mean that there’s no case to answer. It’s not a Chinese company, see? It’s a Cayman Islands business.


Maybe. Either way, it’s going to be a tough sell, and Mayer will be walking into a role that has both business and political implications, especially given the tenuous US-China trade situation, and accusations over the origin of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

It could end up being a particularly hot seat to be in.

Will it help improve TikTok’s position in western markets? Possibly. It certainly needs someone like Mayer to help bolster its approach.

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TikTok Launches New ‘Branded Mission’ Creator Monetization and UGC Promotion Process



TikTok Launches New 'Branded Mission' Creator Monetization and UGC Promotion Process

TikTok’s looking to make it easier for creators to make money from their clips via a new program that it’s calling ‘Branded Mission’, which will enable creators to take part in what’s essentially branded content challenges, with the brand then able to select from the submitted clips for their promotional campaigns.

As explained by TikTok:

“To make it easier for brands to tap into the creative power of TikTok communities and co-create authentic branded content that resonates with users, we’re launching Branded Mission. Branded Mission is an industry-first ad solution that enables advertisers to crowdsource authentic content from creators on TikTok, turn top-performing videos into ads, and improve brand affinity with media impressions.”

As outlined in the above video, the process will enable brands to post challenges, which creators with over 1k followers will then be able to participate in.

“TikTok creators can decide what Branded Missions they’re inspired by and choose to participate in the Mission. Brands will select their favorite original creative videos and amplify them through promoted ad traffic.”

The chosen creators then get a cash payment, though the payment amounts, at least at this stage, won’t vary based on individual video performance.

Instead, each Mission will list earnings potential, based on how much the brand is willing to pay.


Allocate more cash and you’ll pique the interest of more users, expanding the potential of tapping into a viral hit.

The option will broaden the creative options for brands, and with organic-styled content performing best on the platform, it could open up major new possibilities for marketers looking for ways to tap into the app.

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It’ll also provide TikTok with another critical revenue-share element. Clearly the app of the moment, if TikTok wants to maximize its opportunities, it needs to ensure that its top creators get paid – because with more lucrative monetization offers available on other platforms, it logically makes sense that big-name stars will follow the cash, and focus on those platforms instead.

But monetizing short-form video is harder than longer content, which is why TikTok is also rolling out 10-minute clips, and emphasizing live-streaming, as a means to drive more money-making opportunities.

Branded Mission is another step in this direction, which will ideally provide a more direct link between creating content in your own style and making money, without having to incorporate merchandise sales or arrange your own affiliate deals.

Interestingly, Meta is trying out similar on Instagram, where product tags were recently expanded to all users.

Instagram product tags

Creators don’t get paid for adding these tags, not yet at least, but you can see how Meta could eventually take a similar approach to provide creators with more revenue opportunities.

For TikTok, the process could make it much easier to bring in cash for your uploads, expanding well beyond the Creator Fund, which top creators have already been highly critical of.

You will, of course, need to create specific, themed videos, as opposed to YouTube, where you upload what you like and switch on ads. But it’s a fairly distanced relationship from the sponsor brands, which reduces management workload, while also providing new content prompts.


It’s a good idea, and as more and more brands look to tap into the app – especially as it surges towards 1.5 billion users – you can bet that it’ll be a popular option for a range of ad partners.

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TikTok says that Branded Mission is now in beta testing, and is available to brands in more than a dozen markets. The option will be made available in more regions throughout the year.

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