Series, which launched earlier this month, is TikTok’s version of Patreon. While it isn’t yet confirmed, the app is working hard to finalise it. The Series feature gives creators a way to charge followers for long-form, exclusive videos and a Series collection can have as many as 80 videos, with clips running up to 20 minutes long. Creators will be able to set their video rates from $1 to $190. At the start, creators will get to keep all of their revenue, after processing and app store fees.
However, there are worries that the feature will stifle the viral ability of the app’s algorithm of which it is so known for. According to Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential, “some creators with highly engaged audiences will monetize significantly from this feature, but they also risk losing out on content going viral and the chance to continue to grow their audiences if used incorrectly,” he said.
When it comes to brands’ relationships with the feature, most are waiting to see which creators have followers willing to subscribe.
The motivation for the feature comes from YouTube’s long-form content appeal which tends to draw loyalty. YouTubers cultivate committed audiences that tune in more often, for longer periods of time, whereas on TikTok fame can be fleeting. TikTok also has designs on connected TV, and Series could fit naturally in that environment.
Another motivation was continuous complaints from TikTok creators who feel that TikTok’s creator fund isn’t big enough to accommodate the growing number of creators. In response, TikTok recently introduced a new version of the fund called the Creativity Program, which will only reward videos over a minute long from eligible creators.
The Series feature also comes at a time when creators aren’t seeing huge returns from YouTube Shorts, YouTube’s answer to TikTok. YouTube Shorts is still relatively new, and the revenue-sharing program only started in February, giving creators a 45% split of advertising dollars. But many are only seeing a few cents of returns on Shorts. If Series proves worthwhile, it could encourage some TikTokers to focus more on the app, and less on YouTube.
All in all the creator economy feels like an ongoing mess with multiple attempts to produce the best option possible.