TikTok is launching a “Creativity Program,” an additional fund to pay creators for their content, the company said in a statement Feb. 20. The announcement follows criticism from influencers about negligible payouts from the app’s creator fund and ad revenue sharing program.
The new program is intended to help creators earn revenue and “unlock real-world opportunities,” the company said in the announcement.
TikTok didn’t disclose if the Creativity Program would supplant its creator fund, which seems to serve the same purpose. The company launched the creator fund in 2020 with the intent of paying creators $1 billion through 2024. But the growing number of TikTok creators means payouts from the fund are becoming smaller and smaller. Last year, Hank Green, an internet personality and host of educational video channel Crash Course, said he earned significantly more on YouTube than on TikTok.
YouTube is becoming an increasingly dominant force in the short-form video category. After launching YouTube Shorts in 2021 and offering to pay creators 45 percent of advertising revenue, the site took a share of creators from TikTok. U.S. lawmakers have also targeted TikTok in recent months because of concerns with its Chinese parent company ByteDance, potentially making YouTube a more stable option for creators in the long term. While YouTube seems to have taken a share of TikTok’s short-form video audience, TikTok is now taking a page out of YouTube’s book with its Creativity Program’s stipulations.
The program pays influencers for original videos longer than one minute, which is a condition that didn’t apply to the creator fund and crosses into the territory of YouTube, which historically has hosted longer videos. TikTok must not only compete with YouTube Shorts and Meta’s Reels, but with streaming platforms like Netflix and other forms of entertainment. And it seems that with this new length requirement, it is willing to pay to keep users on the app.
How TikTok’s “Creativity Program” works
TikTok didn’t disclose how many followers or views creators will need to qualify, but it said creators must be at least 18 years old and in good standing with the app. The Information reported creators need a minimum of 100,000 followers to join, according to a source familiar with the matter, which is a leap from the creator fund’s 10,000-follower requirement. The company is testing a beta version of the program to select creators and will open it to eligible users in the coming months.
TikTok is also reportedly testing a paywall option for creators to charge for their content.