Nine million people follow Falco Punch on Tiktok. The followers are hard-won: the 24-year-old works an 80-hour week for his videos (Photo: Ole Witt)
11/21/2020, 5:00 p.m. No time at the moment?
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The business models of Silicon Valley need one thing above all: attention. Even if you spend more and more time online, your 24 hours are highly competitive.
In the foyer of the Berlin coworking provider Rent24, Falco Punch is easy to recognize: With his symmetrical facial features, carefully tousled hair, holes in jeans and a fingernail-sized silver cross on his left ear, he doesn’t look like a “startup”, but rather a “boy band”. What already pulled in the Bravo in the 1990s, is also pulling in the world of social media today: The 24-year-old is Germany’s largest tiktoker. Nine million people follow him on the Chinese platform. He also has 280,000 followers on Instagram, 84,000 on Youtube and a little more than 3,000 on Facebook.
His videos are primarily about himself. He stages himself with the help of concealed cuts – so-called transitions. One moment Falco wears a t-shirt, the next a white shirt with a bow tie. The clips, which last a few seconds, reach a larger audience in terms of numbers than “Wer wird Millionär” and only slightly less than the daily news. In places like Alexanderplatz, where many teenagers hang out, it only takes two minutes for someone to speak to him, he says. In the coworking space in Berlin-Mitte nobody reacts to him at first.
People over 20 have usually never heard of him. Unless they work for the advertising industry. L’Oréal hair gel has recently appeared in Falco’s videos under the hashtag #Stylelikeanexpert. The cosmetics manufacturer describes this as an “innovative campaign concept”. On the way to his manager Andre “Brix” Buchmann’s office, Falco tells us that he recently produced a clip for BMW in Denmark.
Tiktok and its German star say that they want one thing above all: to spread fun. And so they obviously hit the mood of people around the world who are looking for diversion in times of pandemic, curfew and existential fear. Just as the Chinese video network and Falco’s channels are booming, the entire digital entertainment industry is booming: In spring 2020, videos, social media and gaming accounted for around 80 percent of global data traffic, as an analysis by Sandvine from May 2020 shows. Youtube alone accounted for 15 percent of global traffic and 11 percent for Netflix. Some EU politicians feared that during the Corona lockdown, the Internet could go to its knees from the sheer continuous streaming. As a result, the providers temporarily reduced the image quality.