TikTok continues to explore more creator monetization pathways with the addition of LIVE subscriptions, which is being launched with selected creators later this week.
As per the above video overview, TikTok’s LIVE subscription offering will enable live-streamers in the app to generate recurring revenue from their efforts, by sharing exclusive streams with their paying audience.
As explained by TikTok:
“LIVE Subscription is an extension of our efforts to build diversified creator monetization opportunities that suit a range of creator needs. LIVE Subscription gives creators the opportunity to increase their earnings while continuing to grow their community and also provides engaged communities an opportunity to thank their favorite creators on a regular basis.”
Subscribers that pay a monthly fee will get access to a range of exclusive features, including:
- Subscriber Badges: Subscribers receive badges that are displayed next to their name on their profile and upgraded over time.
- Custom Emotes: Subscribers get access to exclusive emotes custom-designed by the creators to use during LIVE sessions to bring the community together and make your sessions more spirited.
- Subscriber-Only Chat: When the subscriber-only chat is turned on, creators and their subscribers have exclusive access to one another, enhancing an even more personal connection between creator and viewer.
So, basically, if you’re familiar with the live subscription options on other channels, like YouTube’s Super Chat or Facebook’s Stars program, then you’ll know what to expect here – more specific, custom tools to help enhance connection between creators and their paying audience, via unique, purchasable live additions that will highlight comments and interactions in the stream.
Which has already proven lucrative in various markets.
Twitch is probably the best example in western regions, with around 27k Twitch streamers now making an income from their streams in the app. Originally, Twitch’s streams were all gaming focused, but over time, it’s diversified its topic mix, and become a more central cultural hub for many topics, trends and interests.
It’s in Asian nations, however, where live-stream subscriptions have really taken off.
In China, live-streaming is now a $30 billion industry, and has become so influential that Chinese regulators are now seeking to implement caps on how much viewers can donate to a streamer at a time. Authorities are concerned about the rising popularity of streaming as a career option, as well as the use of the form for sexualized content, and by implementing donation limits, they’re hoping to exert a level of control over the mediums rapid growth.
Western nations, too, are seeing steady growth in streaming interest, with some live broadcasters on TikTok now earning big money through shopping streams.
TikTok, of course, is still looking to establish more revenue pathways for creators, in order to keep them aligned to the app, and with much more lucrative options available on YouTube or Instagram, TikTok needs to add in more monetization pathways to strengthen its position on this front.
LIVE subscriptions are another key step in this direction, and while it will only be available via invite-only in its initial stages, TikTok says that it plans to make it available to all users ‘over the coming months’.
“To access the LIVE Subscription feature, creators must be 18 years of age and have a minimum of 1,000 followers. Users must be over 18 to purchase a subscription and to send or receive Coins and Gifts. All users must follow our Community Guidelines and not solicit gifts or offer incentives for gifting.”
It could be a significant step, and with effective monetization now really the only potential obstacle that could slow TikTok’s growth trajectory, it’s a necessary addition in the broader scheme.
Also interesting – some creators will apparently enable viewers to control their cameras through their subscription offering.
There are obviously some additional technical requirements to make this work, but it could add another angle to TikTok’s LIVE subscription offerings.
You can read more about TikTok’s LIVE subscriber options here.