TikTok takes a page from Twitch as the battle for creators heats up
TikTok made its name with ultra-short, pre-recorded videos, but it clearly sees an opportunity in the more open-ended world of livestreaming. Live Subscriptions closely resembles the Twitch model, which was later adopted by Facebook and others: Subscribers gain access to special perks, such as custom emotes to post in the chat feed, while creators receive monthly payments for producing broadcasts.
The announcement mentioned beauty tutorials, recipe prep, and gaming tips as examples of what TikTok expects people to watch. It’s not difficult to imagine what kinds of sponsorships — or even branded channels — could follow. Insider Intelligence predicts TikTok’s ad revenue will triple this year to $11.64 billion.
TikTok has steadily built out livestreaming tools for creators and brands to keep their audiences entertained since the outbreak began. Previous efforts to expand the platform’s revenue beyond traditional ads have focused on areas such as social commerce. However, with the rebound in brick-and-mortar and user privacy changes making it more difficult to target and measure campaigns, commerce growth for social media operations has slowed.
To quote executives, creators are the “lifeblood” of TikTok, and keeping them happy and engaged on the app may become more important as competitors increase their own stake in the creator economy. TikTok’s reputation for instant virality has become something of a double-edged sword. Creators who become famous as a result of the algorithmically driven For You page may see their fame fade as quickly as it came. Monthly subscriptions provide a level of stability that may encourage creators to post more frequently and foster greater loyalty among their followers.
Other recent developments have shown TikTok is attempting to gain favor with creators. At the NewFronts, the company announced its first revenue-sharing program for profiles with a certain number of followers. At the May showcase for marketers and media buyers, TikTok also promoted a new premium ad format called Pulse. It ranks brands in the top 4% of all videos on the app.
A more focused push into livestreaming comes as controversy envelops the concept, which is more difficult to moderate than other video formats. The shooter in last weekend’s mass shooting in Buffalo used Twitch to broadcast his rampage. Though the platform removed the video within minutes, copies quickly spread to other sites and stayed up for longer.
TikTok stated in its blog post announcing Live Subscriptions that participants must follow its community guidelines, be 18 years old, and have at least 1,000 followers.