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TikTok ousts TV for British and US young adults

The landscape of social media is constantly changing, especially among young adults who are most of the time leading the edge in this field.

The use of the TikTok app and streaming services has over the last few years dramatically changed the landscape for broadcast television.

According to an official survey in the UK, TikTok has overtaken TV as the most popular entertainment source for young adults.

Young adult. Credit: Kevin Malik

“Young adults in the UK are spending more time scrolling on social media site TikTok than watching broadcast television”, argues the UK’s annual report from the office of communications.

Ofcom highlights the growing generational divide in media habits.

A study for Ofcom by the polling company Ipsos estimates that those aged 15 to 24 spent 57 minutes a day on TikTok alone.

A group of young adults Credit: Osvaldo Coelho Jr

This is longer than the 53 minutes that the 16-to-24 age group spends watching broadcast television, according to a separate survey for Ofcom by BARB, an audience rating agency.

The survey reports that less than half of 16 to 24-year-olds watched at least 15 minutes a week of programming on a public-service channel such as BBC, ITV, or Channel 4.

“This is in sharp contrast to over-65s, who watch almost six hours of broadcast TV per day”, highlights Ben Lovejoy, a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac.

Ben notes that subscription streaming services continue to grow their revenues, up 27% last year. Around one-fifth of paying streaming video subscribers pay for all three Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus.

A Pew Research Center survey of American teenagers ages 13 to 17 finds TikTok has rocketed in popularity and is now a top social media platform for teens among the platforms covered in this survey.

Some 67% of teens say they ever use TikTok, with 16% of all teens saying they use it almost constantly.

Meanwhile, the share of teens who say they use Facebook, a dominant social media platform among teens in the Center’s 2014-2015 survey has plummeted from 71% then to 32% today.

Changes in the social media landscape since 2014-15 extend beyond TikTok’s rise and Facebook’s fall. Growing shares of teens say they are using Instagram and Snapchat since then.

Things get even starker when you look at the most-used apps. For YouTube, 19% of teens say they watch it “almost constantly,” and a further 41% “several times a day.”

This contrasts with Facebook, where the same figures are just 2% and 8%, respectively. The study notes remarkable demographic differences in teens’ social media choices.

For example, teen boys are more likely than teen girls to say they use YouTube, Twitch, and Reddit, whereas teen girls are more likely than teen boys to use TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Teen girls using their mobile phones. Credit Andrea Piacquadio

This study also explores the frequency with which teens are on each of the top five online platforms: YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.

Fully 35% of teens say they are using at least one of them “almost constantly.” Teen TikTok and Snapchat users are particularly engaged with these platforms, followed by teen YouTube users in close pursuit.

A quarter of teens who use Snapchat or TikTok say they use these apps almost constantly, and a fifth of teen YouTube users say the same.

When looking at teens overall, 19% say they use YouTube almost constantly, 16% say this about TikTok, and 15% about Snapchat.

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