TikTok’s Monetization System Goes Through Yet Another Change

tiktok monetization
Remix by Caterina Cox: DDimaXX/Shutterstock, Queenmoonlite Studio/Shutterstock TikTok

On March 5, TikTok held its “For Creators: Future Formats Summit” in Los Angeles. At the conference, the platform’s biggest announcement was that the TikTok Creativity Program will finally be exiting beta, being renamed to the “Creator Rewards” program.

According to a news release about the program, TikTok says it will pay creators based on four factors: “originality, play duration, search value, and audience engagement.” The platform did not yet clarify how exactly it will determine or quantify these abstract values. 

“We’ll have more detailed information outlining the four areas in the coming weeks,” a TikTok spokesperson told Passionfruit.

Notably, there’s another requirement in the program: the fact that videos have to be at least 60 seconds long in order to qualify. 

If your video fits all of these criteria, TikTok claims creators will make “20x more revenue” than they did with the Creator Fund. The Creator Fund, TikTok’s previous monetization scheme, closed in December 2023. If true, this would be news that creators who made mere “pennies” through the Creator Fund program would undoubtedly welcome. 

But what about videos under a minute long? TikTok failed to mention any monetization opportunities for videos like these, so I guess we can probably assume there aren’t any. Which is quite bizarre for a social media platform that initially became popular for its fifteen-second clips.

Another significant change the platform is making is its “LIVE Subscriptions” feature. Starting with renaming it to “Subscriptions,” the platform will also expand subscriptions beyond live content to video on demand.

Speaking at the event, TikTok said: “Subscription will initially be available to invite-only creators, but in the coming weeks, eligible creators can sign up to access a new way to strengthen their community with added value through exclusive content and benefits.”

If you find all these constant changes to monetization confusing, you’re not the only one. TikTok claims there are 14 ways to earn on their platform alongside funds like gifts from live streams, the creator marketplace, branded content, and paywalled content. But, currently, there are no ad-revenue-sharing programs for creators who make viral videos under one minute long. 

And for all of these programs, there’s little to no transparency about how much revenue is actually being shared with creators versus kept for the platform. Other platforms, like YouTube and Twitch, have clear-cut revenue-sharing breakdowns in place. In a statement to Passionfruit, TikTok noted that it “does not share financial details.”

So, forgive us for remaining skeptical for now.

Update March 6, 2024, 6:00pm ET: This article was updated to include a statement from TikTok.

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