TikTok's new 'Series' feature lets creators put content behind a paywall

TikTok is launching a new feature called "Series" that allows eligible creators to post content behind a paywall, the company announced on Tuesday. The new monetization feature adds another way for creators to earn money for their content on the app. Series is currently only available to select creators, with applications to join opening in the coming months.

Series enables eligible creators to post collections of premium content behind a paywall that viewers can purchase for access. One Series can include up to 80 videos, each up to 20 minutes long. Standard videos on TikTok can currently only be up to 10 minutes long, so the expanded video length for Series gives creators more time and flexibility when filming things like cooking demos, beauty tutorials, educational content, comedy sketches and more. The change marks yet another way that TikTok is inching further into YouTube's territory.

Creators can select the price for their Series that they believe best reflects the value of their exclusive content. The content can be purchased for access via direct in-video links or through a creator’s profile. A spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch that creators will be able to keep 100% of their earnings after applicable fees for a limited time. TikTok will likely start taking a cut in the future, but didn't say how much it would be.

It's worth noting that users won't be able to use Series as a way to post adult content, as Series content must abide by TikTok's Community Guidelines.

"From the top collection of must-know spreadsheet shortcuts to the most effective workouts or the latest baked oats recipe, the diverse range of valuable and entertaining content on TikTok has quickly become a part of a billion people's lives around the world," the company said in a blog post. "Today we're introducing Series, a new way for creators to share their stories, talents and creativity as premium content while further deepening their connection with the TikTok community."

Today's launch isn't exactly a surprise, given that The Information reported last month that TikTok was working on a paywall feature. The new feature will 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. However, the idea of exclusive content for paying users isn’t a new concept, as Instagram lets creators share subscriber-only content.

The new feature comes two weeks after TikTok launched the beta version of a revamped creator fund called the “Creativity Program.” The program is designed to generate higher revenue and unlock more opportunities for creators. The Creativity Program is available to select creators on an invite-only basis, with availability to all eligible creators coming soon.

TikTok said 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. TikTok is now acknowledging these concerns with the launch of the new program.

The new Series feature and Creativity Program are the latest additions to TikTok’s suite of monetization tools, which includes LIVE subscriptions and TikTok Pulse. The company also has tips and gifts monetization features.

The expansion of TikTok’s current payout offerings for creators comes as its competitors are ramping up their offerings. Last month, YouTube began sharing ad revenue with Shorts creators. No short-form video platform has quite figured out how to share ad revenue up until now, which gives Shorts a notable leg up on the competition.

TikTok's latest announcements show that it's looking to appease creators and give them more ways to earn money through its platform amid enhanced competition from other companies.