TikTok announced today that it’s launching the beta version of a revamped creator fund called the “Creativity Program.” The company says the program is designed to generate higher revenue and unlock more opportunities for creators. The program is available starting today to select creators on an invite-only basis, with availability to all eligible creators coming soon.
Given that the program is still in the early stages, TikTok declined to reveal specifics about the amount of money that it has allocated for the program. The company also didn’t say how many followers or views creators need in order to be eligible for the program. TikTok did, however, note that users need to be at least 18 years old and have an account in good standing to be eligible for the program.
The company says it developed the new program based on feedback from creators on its current earning opportunities, including its Creator Fund. The fund, which rewards creators for popular videos, launched in 2020 with a $1 billion commitment over three years. Its model has been criticized by creators who have complained about low payouts, with some saying they earned a few dollars for videos that got millions of views.
TikTok is now acknowledging these concerns with the launch of the new program. A spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch that TikTok has reworked its formula to offer a higher average gross revenue for qualified video views with the new program, but didn’t provide specifics about what payments could look like for creators.
Although TikTok didn't say how many followers creators need in order to be eligible to take part in the new program, a previous report from The Information indicated that the minimum requirement is 100,000 followers. If this is the actual criteria, then it marks a significant jump from the 10,000 follower requirement under the current Creator Fund.
To start earning with the program, creators will need to create high-quality, original videos that are longer than one minute. For context, TikTok’s current Creator Fund doesn’t require videos to be longer than one minute to be eligible for payment. Last year, TikTok expanded its maximum video length from three minutes to 10 minutes, and is now looking to reward creators for posting longer content. TikTok’s focus on longer content isn’t surprising, given that the company has been creeping further into YouTube’s territory.
The program gives creators access to an updated dashboard with more insights into estimated revenue, video performance metrics and analytics and video eligibility requirements.
Creators already enrolled in the Creator Fund can switch to the Creativity Program, and those that are not enrolled can apply to the new program once available. Once enrolled in the new program, creators will not be able to revert back to the Creator Fund. TikTok declined to say whether the Creativity Program will replace the Creator Fund altogether, but it's possible that once the Creativity Program launches widely and exits the beta phase, TikTok will scrap the Creator Fund.
The U.S. launch of the new program comes as TikTok has been testing it in France and Brazil for a few months. TikTok plans to launch the program in more regions soon.
“Designed to help creators foster their creativity, generate higher revenue potential and unlock more exciting, real-world opportunities, the Creativity Program Beta is the latest addition to our range of monetization tools that support creators of all levels in being rewarded,” the company said in a blog post.
The new program expands TikTok’s current earning opportunities for creators, as its biggest competitors are also ramping up their offerings. This month, YouTube began sharing ad revenue with Shorts creators. Prior to this, no short-form video platform had quite figured out how to share ad revenue. The change gives Shorts a notable leg up on the competition because if creators can make more money via YouTube Shorts than on TikTok, they’re incentivized to make original content for the YouTube platform.
However, TikTok’s new program shows that it’s focused on retaining its creator talent, as the company says it’s committed to finding new ways for creators to be rewarded.
In addition to the revamped creator fund, TikTok is working on other ways to appease creators. The Information reported last week that TikTok is developing a paywalled video feature that would allow creators to charge users $1, or another amount of their choosing, to access a video. The idea of exclusive content for paying users isn’t a new concept, as Instagram lets creators share subscriber-only content. If released, the feature would allow TikTok to better reward creators, who are the driving factor of the app, as their viral videos have been vital to the app’s growth and popularity.
The new Creativity Program is the latest addition to TikTok's suite of monetization tools, which includes LIVE subscriptions and TikTok Pulse. The company also has tips and gifts monetization features.