TikTok might use a simple strategy to keep growing: help creators make extra money. The Informationsources claim TikTok is developing a paywall feature that would let producers charge $1 (or a price of their choice) to access a given video. While it’s not clear exactly how the system would work, this would help influencers profit directly from their hottest clips.
The social network is also considering a revamp of its Creator Fund amid complaints about low payouts, according to the sources. TikTok would require a much larger follower count (100,000 versus 10,000), but could pay eligible creators more as a result. The fund might also reward users who produce longer videos that make good use of the recently raised 10-minute limit.
In a statement to Engadget, TikTok didn’t directly comment on the supposed plans but said it was “committed” to devising new ways to make the service “valuable and rewarding” for creators. It’s not clear when the paywall would be available, but the revised Creator Fund could launch as soon as March. The company is reportedly testing the new funding system in Brazil and France.
The additional rewards might be necessary. While TikTok’s American user base surged during the pandemic, that audience levelled off in 2022. Paywalls and a new Creator Fund could keep social media stars posting videos on TikTok where they’d otherwise drift toward Instagram or Snapchat. The firm already has a YouTube-style program that shares ad revenue, but it’s only available to a handful of top-tier users.
Any boost is contingent on TikTok surviving allegations that it’s a national security threat, mind you. Federal and state politicians are pushing to ban TikTok on at least government devices over concerns the Chinese government might use the app for spying and propaganda. The company has long denied these accusations, and its CEO is poised to testify before a House committee in March. If it can’t persuade officials, however, any US growth strategy could quickly fall apart.