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  • ton = $6.16 -0.30 (-4.70 %)

26 Feb, 2023
2 min time to read

TikTok emerges as popular news platform, challenging Google's dominance.

The media and entertainment analyst, Kevin Tran, has outlined how publishers can monetize younger consumers who are increasingly turning to social platforms for free news. According to data from Morning Consult, Gen Z adults in the US are less likely to use Google Search as their go-to platform for discovering news, instead preferring TikTok and Instagram.

In February, 14% of Gen Z adults reported using TikTok to start researching a major news event, significantly higher than the share of all adults (2%) saying the same.

To increase their chances of counting Gen Zers as paying subscribers, news publishers must distribute more compelling content that lives outside of their own websites. However, publishers' paths to reaching Gen Zers are becoming notably less straightforward. Google acknowledged that it was becoming a less-favored search platform for Gen Zers, and Google Search is no longer the most popular choice for discovering news among younger consumers.

This means that publishers must establish a strong presence on TikTok, which is the platform of choice for Gen Zers, to increase their chances of attracting younger consumers as paying subscribers. Most major publishers now have at least some presence on TikTok, though many still aren’t very active. Products like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels have not overtaken TikTok in the minds of Gen Zers.

According to Morning Consult, younger consumers are more likely to pay for online news than their older counterparts, with 36% of Gen Z adults and millennials in February saying they pay for at least one online news subscription, compared with just 16% for Gen Xers and baby boomers. However, younger readers are also more likely to cancel their subscriptions within three months, with 34% of Gen Z adults and 35% of millennials saying they will "probably" or "definitely" cancel, compared with 24% of baby boomers and 21% of Gen Xers.

To accelerate revenue growth coming from Gen Z in particular, publishers could bolster their pop culture verticals. In particular, the news topics that the highest shares of Gen Z adults said they are “very interested” in paying to follow are music, TV and film, and food. Pop culture content tends to perform well on platforms like TikTok, where users are generally looking for lighthearted and zeitgeist content.