Instagram trials subscriptions for creators in the US

With its new Subscriptions feature, is ramping-up competition with TikTok and YouTube to lure more to its platform.

A small group of Instagram creators in the US has been given the opportunity to trial a new Subscriptions feature that will allow them to monetise their content by making it some of it exclusive to only those followers that pay a monthly fee.

Subscriptions will give followers of Instagram creators access to exclusive Lives and Stories to promote greater engagement with content and help creators make a living. Subscribers will also have a badge next to their names in comment sections to help creators identify them.

Now in an initial test phase, Instagram Subscriptions is an extension of Meta’s Facebook Subscriptions business model which was launched in 2020 to promote the creator economy and double-down on video content in a $1bn strategy to compete with others such as TikTok and YouTube.

The 10 Instagram creators trialling Subscriptions are @alanchikinchow, @sedona._, @alizakelly, @kelseylynncook, @elliottnorris, @jordanchiles, @jackjerry, @bunnymichael, @donalleniii and @lonnieiiv. Meta said it will not collect any fees from subscriptions until at least 2023.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta, said that the new Instagram Subscriptions feature will help creators earn more by “offering benefits to their most engaged followers”. “I’m excited to keep building tools for creators to make a living doing creative work and to put these tools in more creators’ hands soon,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

According to TechCrunch, creators can choose the monthly subscription cost for their content across eight price points determined by Instagram ranging from $0.99 to $99.99 per month. Subscriber-only Stories and badges will use a purple colour scheme to help them stand out.

Last year, Facebook said it’s goal was to “to help as many creators as possible find sustainable, long-term success on our apps”. The new subscriptions feature comes as rival TikTok steps-up its wooing of new creators with a new tips feature launched in December.

Other growing platforms that help creators make a living by monetising content include Onlyfans and Patreon, which tripled its value to $4bn in the middle of the pandemic last year after a $155m funding round for its creator economy platform.

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