TikTok puts up the paywall

Even as TikTok deals with a pesky potential ban in the US—which yesterday got a lot closer to becoming a reality—the company is keeping on and looking for ways to hold its dominance over Gen Z's eyeballs.

What happened: TikTok is rolling out a new feature, called Series, that will let creators make collections of paywalled content featuring videos that can be up to 20 minutes long.

  • Collections can contain up to 80 videos, with creators able to charge between $1 and $190 (for reference, that would almost pay for a year of Netflix) for access.

TikTok is making the program available only to select creators before taking applications in the coming months. To start, creators will get 100% of the revenue minus processing fees.

Why it's happening: TikTok is looking to kill two birds with one stone with its new feature.

  • For one, it wants to appease creators unhappy with how much money they're making and keep them from fleeing to platforms with robust monetization—*cough* YouTube.  
  • As longer video essays skyrocket in popularity, TikTok wants to cater to Gen Z with both the “under 20 seconds” and “over 20 minutes” content that they crave.

Series also presents a way to tap into a successful business model leveraged by OnlyFans and Patreon (though both enacted layoffs last year), as fans crave exclusive creator content.  

Bottom line: As popular as it may be, short-form video content has been difficult to monetize. Solving that problem is just one part of TikTok's plan to reinvigorate growth.