Trend Alert | Netflix’s Fast Laughs

Izzy Hall

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.

This week, Netflix announced a new feature within its iOS app, which has been widely compared to TikTok. Fast Laughs is a feed of vertical video content, which will showcase some of the funniest moments from Netflix’s catalogue of comedy TV shows and films. Users can share or react to the clips, and add the shows they come from to their Netflix watch list.

Fast Laughs is primarily a discovery tool. It’s an innovative way for Netflix to introduce customers to content that they would enjoy, therefore improving their experience and increasing the chances they will continue to subscribe to the streaming service. However, it could also suggest that Netflix are concerned about TikTok as a competitor. While on a surface level they are quite different businesses, they are competing for young people’s time and attention. If young people are opting to spend their free time watching TikTok videos over binging Netflix shows, that’s a problem – especially since TikTok is free to enjoy.

TikTok is typically seen as a social network, a competitor to Instagram or Snapchat. However, as TikTok’s Partnerships Marketing Manager Harley Johnson explained a recent YMS event, “You check Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, but you watch Netflix, YouTube and TikTok. There are social media tools within our app, but predominantly we are an entertainment platform.” This clearly shows that TikTok sees Netflix as a competitor, so it’s likely that Netflix shares that view, and it makes sense that the streaming platform would look to incorporate some of the elements that make TikTok so addictive.

Netflix isn’t the only business that’s taking cues from TikTok to improve their product. Instagram’s Reels feature is viewed as their response to the success of the Chinese app, and they’ve strongly encouraged their top creators to use it. We also recently learned about a new dating app called Snack, which is targeted at Gen Z and takes inspiration from TikTok to introduce users to potential matches via a video feed. Snack recently won $3.5 million in funding, and has received press coverage from TechCrunch, Business Insider and others.

By unveiling their answer to the TikTok feed, Netflix demonstrates that even the biggest Gen Z brands aren’t safe from the competition. Netflix has consistently topped our Youth 100 poll of Gen Z’s favourite brands for the past two years in both the UK and US, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to take action to protect their place at the top.

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