TikTok testing a paid subscription model

Rebbeca Ren

posted on January 22, 2022 5:50 am

TikTok, the hit short video platform, is testing a paid subscription model, which might allow creators to charge people to view their content.

According to the company, the feature is part of a limited test for the time being and is not broadly available.

The test is TikTok's latest push toward monetization, as well as a way for it to build better relationships with creators.

In July 2020, TikTok has created a $200 million fund aimed at retaining its top creators in the US and attracting new creators to the platform. In a statement, the video app said the new TikTok Creator Fund will help “eligible” creators on the platform earn a “livelihood through their innovative content”. 

Before the fund launched, TikTok also helped creators sign brand partnerships and sponsorship deals.

TikTok's trial of a paid subscription feature coincides with Instagram's announcement on Wednesday that it will launch a similar service in the US on a limited basis. The app’s content creators will be able to offer subscribers access to exclusive Instagram Stories—the photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours—and to Instagram Live, a real-time video stream.

Pricing of Instagram’s monthly subscriptions range from $0.99 to $99.99, according to its parent company Meta. 

According to Insider Intelligence, TikTok has surpassed Snapchat and Twitter in terms of global users. In 2021, users spent approximately $2.3 billion in TikTok and the iOS version of Douyin (TikTok's sister app in China), a 77% jump year-over-year, according to app tracker Sensor Tower.

However, due to China's tightening regulations on big tech companies and the country's sluggish consumer market, TikTok owner ByteDance's overall revenue in 2021 rose 70% year-on-year to about $58 billion, a slower pace than a year earlier.