TikTok is testing a new way for creators on the platform to get paid — and posting longer videos is a requirement.
The new fund announced today, called the Creativity Program, is in beta testing in the US, France, and Brazil and confirms earlier reporting by The Information about tactics TikTok is employing to boost lagging growth in the US. The new program is open on an invite-only basis for now but will expand to include all eligible users in the future, the company says.
To be eligible for the program, users will need to be over 18, hit follower and video views benchmarks, and, most interestingly, make “high-quality, original videos that are longer than one minute.” The focus on longer videos might come as a surprise for some — after all, it was TikTok that convinced every other major social media company to take shortform video seriously. But TikTok has signaled in more ways than one that longform content, including livestreams, will be increasingly important for the platform going forward.
The backdrop of this launch is a key complaint creators have had with the company: users said they weren’t making enough money from the original creator fund. TikTok says the new program will “foster [creators’] creativity, generate higher revenue potential and unlock more exciting, real-world opportunities” but didn’t offer any clarity on the scope of the new program or how much participants can expect to make (or if it will be more than their Creator Fund earnings).
TikTok spokesperson Zachary Kizer told The Verge the company wasn’t able to share how much money will go into the new program at this time. Kizer specified that payments weren’t coming from ad revenue sharing and that payouts will be calculated using qualified views and RPM, a figure that can, in turn, fluctuate based on metrics like video engagement and audience region.
Creators who are part of the original fund will have the option to switch to the Creativity Program Beta but won’t be able to revert back. The original fund, announced in 2020, had a pool of $1 billion for participants, to be paid out over three years. Meta promised to spend $1 billion by the end of 2022 on creators; YouTube, meanwhile, is offering a sizable revenue-sharing program to content creators making Shorts, with YouTube keeping 55 percent and giving 45 percent to creators.
TikTok’s turn toward longer videos has happened gradually. It’s steadily increased the length of videos users are able to make, expanded tools for hosting (and monetizing) livestreams, and the company is dipping its toes into livestream events like an upcoming trivia contest. And live shopping — in which viewers purchase items directly from livestreams — could be a lucrative revenue stream if TikTok can get it to catch on in the US. The company confirmed in November it was testing in-app shopping in the US after previously being limited to other countries.