TikTok channel comes to TVs at Taco Bell, Burger King, bars and gyms in Atmosphere streaming deal

Mike Snider

Get ready for TikTok on TV – everywhere.

Soon, you will see the popular social network's addictive short-form videos on TVs and displays in restaurants, bars, gyms, medical offices and other businesses.

The TikTok channel is being added to Atmosphere's streaming TV package for businesses. About 19,000 businesses globally, including Taco Bell, Burger King, Meineke Car Care, Westin, and Texas Roadhouse, stream Atmosphere TV's more than 60 channels including Happy TV and Paws TV.

Atmosphere's editors will curate TikTok's videos for the channel, sometimes adding random videos and other times creating themed video compilations. Atmosphere gets clearance from video creators and adds licensed sound. That means you won't see dance videos with the latest music hits.

"The good news is there's millions and millions of videos on TikTok, and 20 to 30% of those videos are still really good, and you do not need audio to enjoy those," said Leo Resig, CEO and co-founder at Atmosphere.

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TikTok has grown to more than 1 billion users, but its audience skews younger. Having its video play in business could attract more, older viewers.

Business TV streaming company Atmosphere is partnering with TikTok to bring curated content from the social network to 19,000 restaurants, bars and other businesses that stream Atmosphere's channels.

"Through our partnership with Atmosphere TV, we're bringing TikTok to unexpected places that reach both new and existing audiences," said Dan Page, head of global business development, new screens at TikTok. "Our platform is powered by the creativity of our community, and we're excited to put a spotlight on them in venues we've never been in before."

TikTok has also begun its move from smartphones to TVs. In November, it released a TikTok TV app for Amazon Fire TV, Google TV and other Android TV OS devices, plus LG and Samsung smart TVs. "We're showcasing the creativity of our community among new audiences that might not understand what the TikTok experience looks like, or the diversity of content our platform has to offer," Page said.

TikTok has gotten some attention recently for several incidents lately – including "challenges" to slap teachers and vandalize schools – and more recently, warnings of potential violence at schools. Atmosphere will not include any TikTok challenges on its TikTok channel. "Everything's family-friendly," Resig said.

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Resig and his brother John Resig founded the photo entertainment website The Chive in 2008. Their media company grew as they created Chive TV in 2014 and launched it on Roku in 2015. They spun Atmosphere, a free advertising-supported streaming video platform for businesses, out of the Chive Media Group in 2019.

That move aimed to meet a growing market for free streaming TV in businesses, which can pay hundreds of dollars monthly for cable or satellite programming.

"We made the decision to really build a business plan around creating a TV channel for every single type of business," said Mike Grisko, chief financial officer and co-founder of Atmosphere, who joined the company in 2017. "So we have a channel called Happy TV, which works incredibly well for everywhere from pediatrics office to nail salons to, kid-friendly family restaurants, to Superhuman TV, which can be for gyms. It's just folks doing amazing, amazing stunts."

Business TV streaming company Atmosphere, spun out of the parent company of The Chive entertainment site in 2019, delivers more than 64 original and partner channels to 19,000 restaurants, bars and other businesses that stream Atmosphere's channels.

Other owned-and-operated channels include Atmosphere News and Chive TV; partner channels include Red Bull, X Games, and America’s Funniest Videos.

For a $99 activation fee, businesses get an Apple TV set-top box loaded with Atmosphere's app. Sports bars and restaurants may play Atmosphere TV on some TVs and live games and other live content on other displays. 

Atmosphere saw the number of businesses playing its programming double over the last year and the company says it reaches more than 20 million unique visitors each month.

Partners such as TikTok get revenue from advertisers on the channels. Venues can pay to run their own advertising between content too.

"It's a very symbiotic relationship," Leo Resig said. "They're realizing we reach an unreachable audience for them. I think a lot of folks, especially probably older men, are like 'I'm too old for TikTok, right?' (TikTok) is thinking 'let's get our content in front of everyone, every age, every gender, and then maybe the light bulb will go off. 'Wow, this is really entertaining stuff. Maybe I need to download this TikTok app.'"

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.