China’s live streaming factories are bleak. Now TikTok wants to open one in the U.S. from Mashable


According to The Information, TikTok plans to open studios in major cities, where creators can host shopping livestreams on the platform. This move follows the widespread addition and adoption of TikTok Shop in 2023, the app’s e-commerce element.

If this idea sounds familiar, it may be because similar facilities have existed in China for years, including one in Wuhan operated by TikTok itself. Or perhaps you remember YouTube Spaces, the large urban hubs where, beginning in 2012, content creators could use studios, equipment, postproduction tools, and trainings provided by YouTube, all for free. In all, 10 Spaces were opened to great fanfare in Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, São Paulo, Mumbai, and Dubai.

The Spaces were used for content creation and rented out for premieres, the Streamy Awards, and even an episode of the Late Late Show with James Corden. By 2020, however, they faced major challenges. They were expensive to maintain, and top creators no longer needed fancy equipment or a studio to make high quality, high performing videos. Plus, YouTube had grown so large that the Spaces could not meet the demand from creators who did want to use them. Seven of the spaces were shuttered at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and remain permanently closed. As of 2024, only the São Paulo, Mumbai, and Dubai locations are active.

The same fate may not befall TikTok’s new venture. After all, live streamers using TikTok Shop do need a physical space where they can showcase and store their products.

But when other elements of content creation are considered, these facilities seem like more trouble than they’re worth. The Information reports that TikTok intends for brands to be able to send product samples directly to the studio for creators to use and potentially film with. But most top creators are already sent brand packages directly or via their management agencies. Plus, TikTok has yet to determine how it’ll support this new venture financially. The Information reports that internal discussions have revolved around charging creators a membership fee for use of the space. So will creators be able to store their inventory at the Spaces overnight, or will they need to lug it in with them every day?

Then there’s the matter of demand. According to The Information, TikTok plans to be able to host “dozens of creators a day” in these physical studios which, to be frank, is a paltry number considering there are over 1 million creators active on the platform, according to some estimates.

Perhaps most troubling is the prospect of dozens of people stuffed into rooms, hawking plastic crap no one needs as our planet overheats. Video footage of China’s live streaming factories are dark, harrowing voids of humanity. Fittingly, TikTok plans to open its first studio in Los Angeles, a city all-too-familiar with the business of manipulating reality for profit.

The post China’s live streaming factories are bleak. Now TikTok wants to open one in the U.S. from Mashable appeared first on Tom Bettenhausen’s.

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