TikTok vs. Streaming: The Battle for Gen Z

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Millions of young people reach for their smartphones daily, not to binge-watch the latest streaming series, but for TikTok’s short, catchy videos, establishing it as the go-to entertainment platform for Gen Z consumers.

TikTok’s strong appeal among younger consumers has positioned it as a highly desirable brand and a disruptive force in the evolving entertainment landscape.

TikTok’s popularity among Gen Z doesn’t mean they’re abandoning other traditional streaming platforms, but the nature of their engagement is shifting. In the attention economy this means each minute that Gen Z spends on TikTok is one less they spend on traditional streaming platforms or watching their ads.

Using E-Score Brand, we evaluated TikTok’s performance across key brand metrics and how the social media giant compares to some of the biggest names in streaming among Gen Z consumers.

1. Brand KPIs (ranked by Appeal) Among Gen Z

Green indicates an above average metric score
*Appeal = Top 2 Box “Like A Lot/Like”
*Loyalty = Top 2 Box (only among brand users).    (All below the copy)
*Consideration = Top 2 Box

TikTok’s KPIs compare favorably to the biggest names in streaming.

  • TikTok outperforms the Streaming Category Average across all KPIs – posting scores similar to category leaders such as YouTubeNetflix, and Disney+.
  • One of TikTok’s biggest strengths is brand advocacy with a satisfied user base leading to an NPS of +54 – the highest NPS compared to top streamers.
  • Building a strong communityTikTok users can easily engage and share with others on content that they enjoy. Amazon’s Prime Video is trying to tap into that same energy with their “Watch Party” feature to allow people to watch shows or movies together on any device.

2. Brand Equity – Attributes Among Gen Z

*Green indicates an above average metric score
*Awareness is used as a tiebreaker

TikTok tops all major streamers across six key attributes.

  • No Content Shortage Here: TikTok offers a constant stream of new and exciting content, with an algorithm that is very good at curating videos  users are likely to enjoy, while enhancing engagement.  TikTok challenges are a big part of what makes the platform so exciting for Gen Z, along with videos on a wide range of topics from fashion/beauty to comedy and social commentary.
  • Culture Kings: TikTok’s timely content and ties to music and pop culture make it a trend-setter, attracting a generation that seeks instant, authentic experiences and social bonding.  Some streamers have caught lightning in a bottle and influenced pop culture – see Netflix’s Stranger Things.
  • What are Gen Z consumers saying about TikTok? (taken from open-ended question)
    • “Addictive videos”
    • “It’s a great app when you need to get away from reality”
    • “An app I use every day for entertainment”
    • “Fun short videos that are easy to get sucked into”

3. Brand Equity – Attachment Statements Among Gen Z

*Green indicates an above average metric score
*Awareness is used as a tiebreaker

TikTok’s grip on Gen Z’s attention comes from the power of authentic self-expression, creative freedom, entertaining content, connecting with others, and empowering users – all wrapped in a mobile-friendly design.

  • Viewing Preference: TikTok’s mobile-first design is a big advantage of competitors as it aligns with Gen Z’s primary mode of media consumption, and its interactive features foster a unique two-way interaction between creators and viewers.  While streaming shows and movies on a mobile device continues to rise, it’s not the ideal setting for the medium.
  • Not Just for Entertainment: Gen Z consumers value the ability to raise awareness and fight for issues important to them.  TikTok promotes being creative, educating others, and supporting causes (LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, mental health, climate change, etc.)– giving users a platform to have a voice.

In the ever-evolving entertainment landscape, TikTok has emerged as a strongly favored platform for Gen Z, reshaping the way younger audiences engage with content. Using E-Score Brand, we were able to illustrate how TikTok measures up against leading streaming brands among Gen Z consumers, unveiling its impact and relevance in respects to conventional streaming platforms.

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