You may have to pay to watch your favorite TikTok influencer soon

Photo and video sharing platforms like Instagram and TikTok seem to be on a serious revamp mode. Instagram recently announced major changes to its home feed and was also in the news after it began testing a paid subscription model with select creators. The details of the feature called "Instagram Subscriptions" have been shared by the creators of the social networking platform this week*.

Following Instagram's cue, its chief rival TikTok said it is also jumping on to the paid subscriptions model (via The Information). News of TikTok's paid subscription plans come courtesy of a TikTok spokesperson who could not be identified. Unlike the case with Instagram, where the company made a *formal announcement detailing the specifics of its subscription model, TikTok, as of now, remains tight-lipped about how it intends to implement its paid subscription model.

This means we have little information about the subscription tiers or a possible timeline for these features to be incorporated.

Doesn't TikTok already let you pay creators?

TikTok veterans may be aware that the platform already offers a couple of monetization options to its creators. These include the ability to send money directly to creators and buying virtual gifts from TikTok. Creators can then 'redeem' these gifts from TikTok for cash. These features come under TikTok's 'Video Gifts' and 'Live Gifts' options that are enabled for eligible creators.

These existing monetization options are part of the TikTok Creator Next program that lets qualified creators access tools to fuel their growth. Some of the tools included in the Creator Next program include a "Creator Fund" and a "Creator Marketplace," both of which let them collaborate with brands. Then there is the TikTok 'Tips' platform which lets fans monetary tips directly to a creator without TikTok taking a cut. The feature is enabled with the help of payments processing company Stripe, which charges a small processing fee for the service.

As you might have already guessed by now, TikTok's existing monetization options sound a bit convoluted. The rumored TikTok subscription model could be a one-stop fix to everything wrong with the company's existing monetization tools. What is strange, however, is the fact that some of the aforementioned monetization options – including the brand new Creator Next portal are fairly recent additions to TikTok's monetization options, having been introduced barely a month ago in December 2021.

All said and done, does the prospect of having to pay to watch your favorite TikTok creator give you pause?