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Why is Gen Z Watching Video Content on These Platforms Less Often?

Fewer Gen Z are reporting frequently watching video content on these platforms, and we explain why…


  • The number of Gen Z watching video content on each of their top platforms weekly or more has decreased across the board
  • But this doesn’t mean they’re watching less, just that they’re spreading their usage amongst platforms—proving our prediction for a plateau in TikTok use
  • Brands should remember that this really means not to focus on just one platform, but to know how each serves a different purpose to young consumers

Video content is one of the top forms of entertainment for Gen Z, if not the number one, whether it’s long form media or short social media videos. Between streaming services and social media platforms, Gen Z is dividing their attention amongst traditional entertainment and user-generated content—with near equal love. So, when we ask which platforms they’re using to watch video content weekly or more often, we’re seeing that their usage is spreading thinner with each platform as they make time for all of their favorites.  

In YPulse’s Media Consumption report, we monitor the kinds of content young consumers are watching, on which devices, and through which platforms (and much more). This year, we saw a trend in their video content consumption which indicates that their attention is more divided than ever. For nearly all their top video content platforms, the amount of Gen Z who say they’re watching content on them weekly or more often has gone down since the last time we asked, and we explain why: 

With more content to choose from than ever, their attention is divided 

Our data shows that for every top video content platform (Netflix, YouTube, TikTok, and Disney+) except Instagram, Gen Z’s weekly usage is down. But this does not necessarily mean that they’re watching less video content than before, in fact, quite the opposite. They’re watching tons of video content, but not concentrating on just one or two platforms.  

This may be in part motivated by their decision fatigue when it comes to content; 56% of Gen Z agree “I’ve experienced decision fatigue from choosing what to watch on streaming services.” With an eight-point drop for Netflix and -13pts for Disney+, fewer Gen Z are tuning into their top streaming services each week than they were in even the last few years. In that time, social media algorithms, like TikTok’s FYP, have gotten smarter and more specific for each viewer, handing them an endless stream of content tailored to their interests with no searching necessary. So, having grown accustomed to perfect recommendations, 57% of Gen Z agree “I am interested in the option of letting streaming services taking control and play content for me to watch based on my interests.”  

However, even the social media platform most famous for its algorithm is declining in weekly use by Gen Z… 

Gen Z’s TikTok use it down, just as we predicted  

While it’s true that 84% of Gen Z use social media to watch video content weekly or more often, their specific social media usage is beginning to fluctuate. At the start of 2023, YPulse predicted that TikTok’s Gen Z usership would begin to plateau, even in its position as their favorite social media platform. And that is exactly what’s happened: in October 2022, 60% of Gen Z said they were watching video content on TikTok weekly or more often. Now, Gen Z’s TikTok usage decreased by nine points, down to 51% watching content there weekly or more often.  

Meanwhile, Instagram is the only platform amongst these that actually saw a small increase in weekly video watching, perhaps as a result of their tireless push towards Reels being a main function of the platform. Gen Z once rejected the concept of Reels, but with the way short-form video content has become so integral to their social media experience, it was only a matter of time before they accepted it. Instagram now falls only three points behind TikTok (48%) for Gen Z’s weekly video watching, showing despite their love for TikTok, every platform still has the opportunity to catch their attention.  

As we’ve said, brands should not focus on just one platform 

YPulse has said before that Gen Z’s love for one platform does not negate their affinity for others; and now as we see them spreading out their video consumption, it’s more important than ever to remember the value of different platforms. Data from our The TikTok Effect trend report shows that young people are looking for different kinds of content on the different platforms they use most, so brands looking to target them should consider one piece of content may not fit all platforms. For example, the number one kind of content Gen Z and Millennials want to see on TikTok is memes and viral content, so entertaining and less polished content thrives there. But they’re more likely to say they want to see content from celebrities on Instagram, meaning it could be the right place for collab campaigns with Gen Z favorites. So, while fewer Gen Z may say they’re on each video platform every week, know that they’re still consuming lots of content across them—meaning brands are not stuck with just one way to get their attention.