Friday, September 22, 2023

TikTok launches Twitch-like subscriptions in beta on Thursday

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TikTok has announced a program that lets viewers pay to subscribe to specific live streamers they want to support. dubbed Live subscriptionit gives fans access to perks like subscriber-only chat, maker-specific emotes, and badges that differentiate them from non-subscribers (through TechCrunch† It will launch in beta on May 26, according to an announcement video posted on the TikTok Live Creator page.

that page has also posted videos of several creators announcing that they are part of the program and announcing the potential benefits to their followers. While custom stickers for livestream chats and the ability to participate in subscriber-only chats are probably the biggest draw for viewers, a few creators have have noticed that they’re also excited about having a “predictable monthly income,” as TikTok’s explainer video puts it.

Making money directly with TikTok (as in, without having to make your own sponsorship deals) has been a bit tricky in the past. It wasn’t until earlier this month that the company announced that it would be sharing a portion of its ad revenue with eligible creators. Live streamers who were part of a creator program could also receive “gifts”, or tips from viewers, in the form of an in-app currency that can be exchanged for real money. With subscriptions, it should be relatively easy – viewers are billed every month and that money goes to you (TikTok didn’t say whether it will be a cut).

These types of programs will likely be familiar to Twitch users, as they are a very similar subscription programAccording to TechCrunchthe price of TikTok Live subscriptions will be “comparable” to Twitch packages, which start at $4.99 per month (although there are tiers as high as $24.99 per month).

I find a little bit of poetic irony in how similar this is to Twitch’s subscription system – many platforms have copied tons of TikTok features, but now it’s TikTok doing the copying (and long after YouTube, Twitter and others started working on the patronage corner). That’s not to say it’s a bad thing — it’s just funny to see the role reversal happening here.

According to TikTok’s announcement message, you must be 18 or older to offer or purchase a paid subscription, and creators can only offer subscriptions if they have at least 1000 followers. (To get subscribers on Twitch, you must must be an affiliate or a partnerwho have both their own set of requirements.) The company also says that the program is currently invite-only.

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