TikTok is testing a new feature: subscription-based content.

January 27, 2022

TikTok is absolutely slamming the charts and skyrocketing in popularity, with many creators building their lucrative following on the platform. Soon, there will be a new way for creators to monetize their content in the form of paid subscriptions. The Verge mentioned that ‘creators on the platform will be able to earn money through their content’.


TikTok has confirmed that it is testing a new feature in which creators can charge a subscription fee to their followers for content. If this means you can only see their page if you pay or if it is for specific content is still unknown. TikTok is playing as always, it very close to the chest. However, when we look at other subscriptions models, it will most likely be in the form where people can have an extra interaction with the creator and see exclusive content that normal followers will not see be able to see.


This news comes at an interesting time because earlier this week, Instagram has announced its own plans to enable creators to charge subscription fees. It seems like the competition between TikTok and Instagram is neck-to-neck, considering two platforms releasing the same update around the same period. We already know Instagram is TikTok’s biggest competitor with Instagram Reels. 


It is still unclear how the paid subscription business model will function on TikTok. To put it in context, TikTok’s“For You” algorithm functions in a way that besides the users they follow, they also see new creators with new content that may interest them. This means, if a creator chooses to charge a subscription for their content, it is most likely that their content will not appear on users’ For You pages. Although, there is a possibility that the subscription will work on a model that will provide subscribed users to view exclusive content. 


There are still many unclear aspects about this potential subscription business model of TikTok. TikTok has only announced that they are ‘workshopping’ this feature, so we can only speculate on how it will start. But most likely, as we have seen with other features from TikTok and other platforms, it will start out with only being available to a handful of large creators. Since the For you page is so different from the other platforms, it will be interesting to see how that will turn out.