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TikTok competes with linear TV and streamers for sports advertisers

The news: TikTok recently held an eight-week session with sports advertisers to teach them how to create campaigns on the platform centered on major sporting events like the Super Bowl and March Madness, per The Information.

Not just TV versus streaming: TV and streaming services are considered the main battleground for sports viewership and advertising spending. But TikTok’s courting of advertisers shows that, as more spending shifts to digital channels, linear TV doesn’t just have to worry about streaming eating its market share.

  • This isn’t TikTok’s first foray into sports advertising: The app held a weeklong activation around last season’s Super Bowl and attracted major TV advertisers like State Farm, which opted not to make a costly ad for the big game and instead focused spending on TikTok.

TikTok’s strategy: Despite being a major destination for ad spending, TikTok has struggled to offer ways to run meaningful campaigns across the app rather than single ads due to the fast-scrolling format.

  • Recent news shows the app is trying to remedy that problem by becoming a hub for content around major events. TikTok recently struck a major partnership with Disney to host a monthlong content hub for the company’s 100th anniversary with the goal of diverting traffic from the main feed to other parts of the app.
  • The Disney hub is the first of its kind and represents an activation model that TikTok can recreate for other advertisers or major events like the Super Bowl.

The big picture: The digital advertising market is flush with competitors, forcing platforms to take extra steps to onboard brand partners.