TikTok to shut down $2 billion creator
TikTok is shutting down its $2 billion Creator Fund, a 2020 initiative designed to help pay eligible users making content on the app, a spokesperson for the platform confirmed Monday.
The fund was intended to “help support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content” by providing them with money distributed through the fund over three years, according to a July 2020 news release from TikTok. The pool of money was distributed based on creators’ shares of the platform’s overall views.
But after the fund launched, many creators were vocal about their concerns, saying it was making monetization on TikTok difficult. Hank Green, who was an early YouTube star and is considered an authority on the culture of the internet, was among those who publicly voiced his concerns last year, saying the fund was outdated. He argued that rather than working in its creators’ best interests, TikTok’s monetization tool worked in favor of the platform’s bottom line.
Other creators quickly echoed Green’s complaint, sharing the little income they generated from the platform despite having racked up large viewership numbers. At the time, Green —who has 8 million followers on TikTok — said that per 1,000 views, he was making about 2.5 cents.
TikTok is revamping its system for paying creators. With its new Creativity Program, which incentivizes users to make videos longer than one minute, the platform estimates that creators can make more than 20 times what they were previously earning on TikTok. This is great news for more chatty TikTokers, but for other creators, TikTok’s payouts have never been that helpful to begin with.
Starting on December 16, creators in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany will be shifted over to TikTok’s Creativity Program, rather than its existing Creator Fund. Despite the confusingly similar names, the two programs are distinct. Under the old $1 billion Creator Fund, eligible creators would get payouts proportional to how many views their videos got.
But the platform quickly outgrew the $1 billion fund, meaning that creators could post a video that got millions of views, but get paid about enough money to buy a coffee. While $1 billion sounds like an unfathomable sum, YouTube — which shares advertising revenue — paid creators $30 billion in three years.
Given how negligible Creator Fund payouts are, TikTok pivoted to a new idea: the Creativity Program. The biggest difference between the two strategies is that the Creativity Program only allows users to monetize content longer than one minute.
Earning money on TikTok has always been more unpredictable than other platforms like YouTube or Twitch. YouTube especially has seized on the issue of low payouts by offering ad revenue sharing on Shorts, its TikTok competitor.
To apply for the Creativity Fund, which appears to still be in beta, creators must be based in the U.S. and over age 18, and they must have had more than 10,000 followers and at least 100,000 video views in the last 30 days. It was not immediately clear whether TikTok plans to include global creators in a different monetization program.