Sandra Lehner presented a special report about TikTok and TV during IPXChange in Cologne

Sandra Lehner presented a special report about TikTok and TV during IPXChange in Cologne
IPXchange, Independent Producers’ Exchange, is a bi-annual event, which brings European TV producers and global format distributors/developers together prior MIPTV/MIPCOM to exchange format rights, knowledge, and to network with each other. The conference programme is divided into pitching and learning sessions. In my learning session, I talked about storytelling on TikTok and here is a short recap.

Gen Z considers TikTok their streaming platform. According to Maria Rua Aguete, Senior Director Media & Entertainment at Omdia, “they consider scrolling through TikTok as a form of entertainment, and that’s almost competing with some of the network content that’s being put out there. It’s personal and it’s self-programmed, and they want to see content that reflects them and their likes and interests.”

Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that storytelling on TikTok is evolving rapidly. And TikTok is even enforcing it by constantly upping the video length (maybe to 30 mins soon) and rewarding creators who upload long-form content on TikTok (they are growing 5x faster than those who don’t).

For TV producers and broadcasters, TikTok offers the chance to:

• Reach a massive and highly engaged audience
• Connect with younger demographics
• Drive viewership
• Potentially create viral moments that can amplify their content
• Have a brand presence in the digital age

And many broadcasters and producers are already tapping into these opportunities. ABC Australia is very active with original series such as “The Disposables”. HBO celebrated 25 years of “The Sopranos” by launching 25-second TikTok Episode Recaps and to introduce younger viewers to one of the greatest TV shows ever. And German broadcaster Pro7 has one of the best Memes-Account on TikTok, garnering almost more followers than TV viewers and then joking about it.

One series on TikTok that made waves recently is Reesa Teesa’s “Who TF Did I Marry” series, in which she describes at length being fooled by her now-ex-husband “Legion” via a 50-part series of videos that are just under 10 minutes each. If you thought that Gen Z is not watching long-form content anymore, then do the math here (50x10’). After the series went viral, it was announced that she signed with CAA for representation and I bet you an audio book and a TV series are already in the making.

It happens quite often that a series that went viral in the digital world, gets a TV makeover. But it can also happen the other way around which “50 Dates 50 States” shows very well. This TikTok series is based on E!s dating show “Catching Kelce”. Yes, THE Kelce. Taylor’s Kelce. Much like “The Bachelor”, the show saw Travis Kelce date multiple women to try and find the one. To be exact, he dated 50 women from 50 different states. And Matthew Wurnig copied the concept for TikTok and garners now more viewers than the TV bachelor on a fraction of the budget. This series also offers a multitude of brand opportunities as restaurants and tourist attractions in these states offer Matt to host his dates.

Speaking of brands, when it comes to storytelling on TikTok brands are always way ahead of broadcasters.

From the first Reality TV show on TikTok by e.l.f. cosmetics over the first TikTok Telenovela by a Spanish dating app to a Hallmark-like Xmas Rom-Commerce (Rom-Com with Commerce integrated). If you want to learn more about Short-form Brand Storytelling, then join my “Mastering Branded Entertainment” Workshop on the 25th of April. Or for more insights on the Future of TV, sign up for my weekly newsletter Weekend Waves.

About Sandra Lehner
Sandra Lehner is an Entertainment Executive with a global perspective and network who has worked across Europe and the United States. With over 14 years of experience in the entertainment and advertising industry, she is specialised in creating content and strategies that build bridges between traditional TV and Gen Z. Dubbed by the industry press as the TV Futurist, she writes a weekly newsletter on the future of TV, speaks regularly at international events on how to reach Gen Z and Gen Alpha, and teaches social media strategy at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences in Austria. In 2024, she founded IP agency Suncatcher Social to give traditional TV brands more digital visibility. She is also the Co-Founder of IPXchange, a high-profile industry event for European independent producers.