TikTok Considers Letting Its Creators Charge Subscription Fees

TikTok confirmed on Thursday that it is testing support for paid subscriptions, paving the way for creators on the short-form video platform to start charging for their content. First reported by The information, the company didn’t share details on when it might be available to creators, how many creators are currently testing it, or what the compensation structure might be. Company spokesman Zachary Kizer said in an email The edge that subscriptions were a “concept that was tested” and that “new ways were always being thought of to add value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience” (whatever that means).

If accepted, TikTok’s latest move would be to help its creators monetize their content; it introduced his Creator Next-Hub with monetization tools and rolled out its tipping feature to eligible creators in December after testing it with a smaller group.

How TikTok will expand its hugely successful business model to include direct payments to the creator is a bit of a mystery. The app’s main advantage over competitors is its sinister algorithm that displays content on users’ For You pages. It’s a way for creators to reach users and, ideally, turn them into subscribers. But if creators have their best content ready for subscribers, that content likely won’t be available to drive the algorithm, which in turn could reduce engagement since it’s theoretically not shown to non-subscribers.

Of course, this isn’t an issue unique to TikTok; All digital platforms that try to help content creators and influencers monetize their content try to balance engagement versus directly monetizing the creators. And creators themselves need to be able to predict what content subscribers are willing to pay for and what content will help them best promote their own work.

TikTok’s test of paid subscribers follows Instagram’s announcement that it too starts a test of paid subscriptions with a small number of creators and influencers. Subscribers pay a monthly fee to access exclusive content from creators they follow, including stories and live videos. The different tiers range in price from $0.99 to $99.99 per month depending on what the creator charges, and a purple badge indicates the creator/influencer’s status as a subscriber in the comments section. Meta-owned Instagram says it has no plans to cut creators’ subscription earnings until next year at the earliest.


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