NMA Spotlight: Meet the Gen Z

 

Gen Z ? Young and digital native: these are keywords commonly used to describe the Generation Z (composed of those born between late 90’s until early 2010’s). For publishers and news organizations, there is no doubt that Gen-Z is a valuable audience. The challenge is: how (and where) to reach them?

TikTok seems to be the answer – for now. In the fourth edition of our Spotlight event series (you can check the previous editions here), we invited media managers and startup founders to showcase their successful examples producing and sharing content exclusively for a younger generation on social media channels.

Here are the highlights of the exchange:

Sharing news can be a fun business

Tagesschau is way more than the traditional German news show running for nearly 70 years: it is the most successful TV news program in Europe. Why, then, did the Tagesschau team decide to adventure and create their own channel on TikTok? Andreas Lützkendorf, Head of Innovation and Strategy departments for ARD.aktuell, explains: instead of creating a youth sub-brand, they want to make “Tagesschau” attractive to the younger generation and via TikTok they are able to reach a more diverse audience that is not among those who follow the show via TV or website.

After one year of producing short clips for the social media channel, from summary of news to fun bits showcasing behind the scenes, Andreas highlights that news production channels shouldn’t be afraid of addressing news and politics on platforms like TikTok “Even a serious brand can be fun”. Important is to maintain the essence of the brand.

Gen Z & The power of community

Another asset of TikTok is the ability for content producers to build up and engage with their community – via comments, likes and interactions. Frontpage TV, startup from NMA’s batch 11, produces short, entertaining shows on TikTok and partners up with creators (or influencers) to increase their reach. “Influencers know how to build their audience”, share Sven Oechler and Lukas Heining, co-founders.

Spotlight Gen Z - Frontpage TV

If working with influencers has proven to be a successful way to growth hack, it is important that brands trust those influencers and give them freedom to share messages to their audience. That is a statement that Anna Juliana Jaenner, founder and showrunner of HashtagDaily, agrees to. The startup runs a soap-opera exclusively on social media (started on Instagram and now mostly on TikTok). The reason why such a traditional entertainment format still works lies, according to Anna Juliana, on the fact that people desire to see and hear stories that they can relate to – and that’s something that doesn’t change with new platforms, it just requires adaptations and new formats.

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Instagram, TikTok…and what’s next?

There are multiple ways – and channels – to reach out to the Gen Z. ForTeeNews, the startup founded by 18-year old Pierre Caulliez, decided to use Instagram to share news updates in short, snackable posts. Pierre explains that his decision to start with posts (instead of vertical videos) follows the goal of trying to engage teenagers – especially those in highschool – to read news content. 


One thing seems to be unanimous among participants of the Spotlight edition: platforms change their importance with time and there will always be a next big thing that will require publishers and content creators to adapt and innovate. When asked about which platform looks promising as the next big thing, participants of Spotlight tend to all agree: it seems that we will be all talking about Twitch in the very near future. 


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