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TikTok Surpasses Netflix for Users Under 35. Is YouTube Next?

Updated on December 8, 2022
3 minute read

It’s the battle of video 😈

Published December 8, 2022

According to the research firm, Omdia, TikTok recently surpassed Netflix as the second-most popular video service for American users under the age of 35.

While YouTube is still the reigning champion, it begs the question: should YouTube be worried?

We're sharing what this means for the future of video, because let's face it — TikTok is coming for the throne.

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TikTok vs Netflix: Is TikTok The New Entertainment Platform?

For starters, TikTok doesn't consider itself a social media platform. 

"Facebook is a social platform,” says Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s President of Global Business Solutions. “They’ve built all their algorithms based on the social graph. That is their core competency. Ours is not.”

As Chandlee puts it, "[TikTok] is an entertainment platform."

And whether you agree or disagree with him, the numbers can't be ignored.

TikTok has over 138M active users in the US and an average screen time of 26 hours per month. That’s equivalent to over six hours of screen time a week (or a few Netflix episodes). 

And with more than half of its audience under the age of 35, TikTok’s solidifying itself as an entertainment behemoth to a younger demographic.

Not only that, but TikTok creators have become mini-celebrity entertainers in their own right — Khaby Lame is currently the most followed TikTok creator and Charli D’Amelio’s earnings topped $17.5M in 2021.

As Maria Rua Aguete, Omdia’s Senior Director states, “For broadcasters — commercial or otherwise — keen to engage younger viewers, the increasing importance of TikTok to reach and grow new audiences should not be understated.”

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So, What Does This Mean for Netflix, YouTube & Other Platforms?

At the moment, Netflix and YouTube can breathe a small sigh of relief: TikTok doesn't have the same popularity outside of the US (yet). Plus, both platforms still own the 35+ age group.

However, TikTok is looking to bridge that gap — it extended its video length to 10 minutes and is becoming a go-to search engine for Gen Z, making it even more competitive with YouTube.

Plus, TikTok is growing in popularity amongst older users too.

In fact, creators like Carla Rockmore and The Old Gays show that there's space (and an audience) for the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations:

And in response, YouTube's launched Shorts, rolled out unique handles (aka usernames), and is doubling down on monetization opportunities for creators: "Over the past three years, we’ve paid creators, artists, and media companies over $50B."

As for other platforms, we’ve seen Instagram launch Reels, push more suggested posts in the feed, and refocus its efforts on helping creators make money too:

And even the NBA launched an app with vertical video and scrolling "For You" recommendations — reminiscent of TikTok’s For You Page.

Whether you consider it an entertainment or social platform, it’s clear that TikTok’s become a video force to be reckoned with — and is on everyone's radar. 

Now that the battle of TikTok vs Netflix has been decided, YouTube should take note.

TikTok is coming for the number one spot. Watch the crown.

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