Monetization, in the end, is always a key factor for social networks, and obviously TikTok was not going to be an exception to the rule. And it is of little use to have a huge volume of users, if these do not generate the economic benefits that investors and shareholders expect. Growth is key, yes, during the early days, but once critical mass is reached, the search for a monetization model becomes an absolute priority for its managers.
The latest example of this is that, as we can read in The Information, TikTok is testing support for paid subscriptions, as a way for both the creators and the company itself to generate income. At the moment it is a closed test, which involves only a few creators, so we can understand that the model for these subscriptions has not yet been fully defined, and that TikTok would be evaluating various options in this regard.
And it is that, at this moment, We still don’t know if the channels that start accepting subscriptions will make all their content private, only those publications that the creators choose or, even, if taking the model of Twitch and other services, all the content will continue to be available to everyone, and therefore subscribing is, fundamentally, a way of supporting the creator by part of his followers. A show of support from which, of course, TikTok would also be a beneficiary.
TikTok’s trial of paid subscriptions comes shortly after we learned that the service is also testing a tipping feature that allows creators to accept money from fans outside of TikTok LIVE streams, where this type of support is already allowed. Creators who are part of the limited test can request the feature if they have at least 100,000 followers.
The news of the new TikTok test arrives just one day after Instagram launched subscriptions in the US. The feature is now in early testing with a small group of creators who can offer their followers paid access to exclusive Instagram Live videos and Stories. Creators can choose the price for access to their exclusive content, and paying subscribers will be identified with a special badge, differentiating them from unpaid users.
And it is that with increasingly fierce competition between these services, in addition to the need to monetize services, we also find that platforms compete with each other to attract creators, something that in turn also forces them to make investments. We saw the clearest example of this with YouTube Shorts, but surely in the short and medium term we will see many more similar actions.