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TikTok Tests Paid Subscription Model

Short video app TikTok is testing a paid subscription model that enables content curators to charge people for viewing their works. The move came as the mobile app developed by China-based Byte-Dance solidified itself as the most sought-after app of the year with 656 million downloads globally, per a ranking by Apptopia last month.

The functionality is in the trial phase and is “only applicable to certain markets,” company insiders confirmed with China Daily on Friday. No other details on pricing or timeline were provided.

“We’re always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,” a spokesman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying in response to questions about the test run.

TikTok announced in September it has 1 billion active global users, a meteoric rise compared with just 55 million global users by January 2018. Launched in 2016, the short video app gained steam after it acquired in late 2017.

Rival Instagram, which came in second with 545 million downloads last year, said earlier this week it was introducing trials for a similar subscription service to “help creators earn recurring monthly income.” Its parent company is Meta, which was formerly known as Facebook.

The paid subscription service comes with access to exclusive content and features, such as subscriber-only lives and badges. Pricing of Instagram’s monthly subscriptions ranges from $0.99 to $99.99.

Separately, Twitter Inc launched a similar “Super Follows” concept last year. Creators on Twitter can charge $2.99 to $9.99 a month for bonus content.

The moves indicate intense competition among social media platforms as they fight fervently for user attention and time span.

Following the success of TikTok, several technology powerhouses are trying to elbow their way into the short video arena. In 2020, Facebook launched Instagram Reels. Last year, Snap introduced a similar feature called Spotlight, while You-Tube unveiled its version named Shorts.

As of 2021, the size of the influencer economy is over $104.2 billion and is evolving each day with innovation, according to a study published in September by media agency Influencer Marketing Factory.

The survey found that content creators’ favorite platform is TikTok at 30 percent, followed by Instagram and YouTube at 22 percent each.

TikTok is also the top platform for content curators to make money, with 24 percent citing it as the most profitable vehicle, followed by Instagram at 22 percent and YouTube at 20 percent. 

This article was written by China Daily from China Daily and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

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