The Creator POV on TikTok Shop 🛍️

Creators report mixed reviews of the new shopping experience

Good morning. On Tuesday, Apple revealed its new products at the company’s “Wonderlust” event, but it wasn’t the shiny gadgets that caught our eye. It was Apple CEO Tim Cook quoting a Marques Brownlee MacBook review in front of thousands in attendance and millions watching via livestream.

“It was only maybe 6 or 7 years ago that independent content creators straight up didn’t get invited to these events…[this was] quite validating, of course,” Brownlee wrote in an Instagram post.

TikTok Shop Officially Launches in the U.S.

TikTok releases its shopping feature in the U.S. / Illustration by Moy Zhong with photography from TikTok Shop

After many months of testing, TikTok Shop is rolling out to all U.S. users over the next two weeks. As of Tuesday, more than 100,000 creators are making videos and livestreams with shopping buttons, according to TikTok. But creators don’t appear to be sold just yet.

How TikTok Shop works: A Shop tab currently appears on TikTok’s search page and a Shop button will soon appear on the app’s home screen, according to The NYT. The button will send users to a marketplace with items and videos that contain products available for purchase. Users can buy those products without leaving the TikTok app.

Creators can earn commission from shoppable affiliate links or set up shops of their own (caveat: they have to make the products themselves or prove they’re authorized to resell).

The response from creators has been mixed:

Big picture: Social platforms have long been eager to cash in on ecommerce, but their efforts have rarely stuck. Instagram pared back its social commerce strategy due to lackluster performance early this year, removing the Shop tab from the home feed entirely. YouTube has continued to double down on shopping, though early efforts have resulted in weak returns for creators.

John Green Picks a New Fight Against Big Pharma

Like his video addressing Johnson & Johnson, John Green labels his open letter to Cepheid “Barely Contained Rage” / vlogbrothers

Author and education creator John Green announced his next target in the fight to end tuberculosis (TB): Cepheid, the diagnostics company behind the highly-accurate TB test GeneXpert.

“You’ve built something amazing, but building something is only valuable if the people who need it most can access it,” Green said, addressing Cepheid in a video uploaded Tuesday. Partnering with medical nonprofit Doctors Without Borders, Green called for his “Nerdfighteria” community to once again use their voice to pressure Cepheid into slashing its prices.

  • Context: This follows Nerdfighteria’s successful bid in July to force pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson into making its lifesaving TB pills more affordable in countries with high rates of the disease.

  • Green and his brother, Hank, have spent the last several years working with nonprofits that fight TB, educating their nearly 4 million YouTube subscribers about the cause and community-funding donations along the way.

FYI: We talked with Green in July about how creators can mobilize their communities to fight for causes they care about—read more from our in-depth conversation here.

YouTube’s NFL Sunday Ticket Debuts with Hot Start

Casey Neistat (left) recaps his favorite moments from the New York Jets v. Buffalo Bills game on Tuesday, including the Jet’s rookie Xavier Gipson’s punt return (right) / NFL

One week into the 2023 NFL season, YouTube’s new NFL Sunday Ticket package already counts more paying subscribers than DirecTV (the home of Sunday Ticket for the past three decades) had last year.

The NFL’s key marketing strategy? Working directly with top YouTube creators.

  • The league has given select creators access to game footage that they can use directly in their videos (and still monetize).

  • Their “NFL Creator of the Week” series invites a creator to film behind the scenes at games—Week 1 featured Casey Neistat.

  • And the league even invited creators like Ryan Trahan to help announce picks at the NFL Draft in April.

Bottom line: Creator partnerships have become an essential part of the NFL’s strategy to “age down,” according to Digiday.

🔥 Press Worthy

📚️ Thank You For Pressing Publish

The content we’re looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this weekend.

  • Read: Journalist Alex Sherman chronicles Disney CEO Bob Iger’s botched succession plan in a wild story about Disney’s turbulent attempts to keep up with a fast-changing media landscape.

  • Watch: TikTok artist trio Whistelgraph draw and sing simultaneously, creating lighthearted and calming videos.

  • Listen: Veteran music producer and Creative Act author Rick Rubin interviewed Tom Hanks in a wide-ranging conversation about how he has balanced his creative aspirations while becoming one of the highest-grossing actors ever.

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