TikTok to Allow its Creators Charge Subscription Fees

For representational purpose
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For representational purpose

Highlights

TikTok confirmed that it is testing support for paid subscriptions, paving the way for creators on the short-form video platform to get paid for their content. There are no details on who, when or how it is available.

TikTok confirmed that it is testing support for paid subscriptions, paving the way for creators on the short-form video platform to get paid for their content. First reported by The Information, the company did not share details on when it might roll out to creators, how many creators are currently testing it, or what the payment structure would look like. Company spokesman Zachary Kizer said in an email to The Verge that subscriptions were a "concept that has been in testing" and that it was "always thinking of new ways to add value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience."

If adopted, it would be TikTok's latest move to help its creators monetize their content; introduced its Creator Next hub with monetization tools and launched its tipping feature to eligible creators in December, after testing it with a smaller group.

How TikTok will add direct creator payments to its wildly successful business model is a bit puzzling. The app's main advantage over the competition is its amazing algorithm that displays content from users' For You pages. It's a way for creators to reach users and ideally convert them into subscribers. But if creators have their best content for subscribers, that content likely won't be available to feed the algorithm, which in turn could reduce engagement, since it's theoretically not shown to non-subscribers.

This isn't a problem unique to TikTok, of course; all digital platforms trying to help content creators and influencers monetize their content are trying to balance compromise with allowing creators to monetize directly. And creators themselves need to be able to predict what content subscribers will be willing to pay for and what content will help them better promote their own work.

TikTok's trial of paid subscribers follows Instagram's announcement that it is also launching a trial of paid subscriptions with a small number of creators and influencers. Subscribers will pay a monthly fee to access exclusive content from the creators they follow, including Stories and live videos. The different tiers will range in price from $0.99 to $99.99 per month depending on what the creator decides to charge, and a purple badge will indicate a creator/influencer's subscriber status in the comments section. Meta-owned Instagram says it doesn't plan to take a share of subscription revenue from creators until next year at the earliest.

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