TikTok announces a new feature expanding its TikTok LIVE streaming platform that allows viewers to subscribe just like on Twitch.
Twitch has long been considered a gaming-focused streaming service, dating back to the platform’s inception in 2011 when it parted ways with Justin.tv. Justin.tv has since been shut down, and Twitch has increasingly leaned into actual streaming content. This is, however, an area where Twitch is facing increased competition. ICT Tac in particular, has recently built up a growing live-streaming audience. Proof that TikTok takes this seriously, it even goes so far as to add account subscriptions.
In an announcement last week, TikTok officially confirmed plans to launch a beta version of its TikTok LIVE subscription feature. LIVE subscriptions are, as the name suggests, a way for TikTok users to subscribe to their favorite TikTok streaming content creators. This is a monthly payment, part of which goes to both TikTok and the creator, and the user will receive exclusive rewards to show support for the creator.
Three different benefits will be available to TikTok LIVE subscribers when the feature launches. The first is a profile subscription badge indicating which TikTok creators the user is subscribed to. These can be “upgraded” over time, probably like Twitch where longer subscribers get different badges. To reiterate, badges are displayed in the subscriber’s profile, not in chat. It may be incorrect, but TikTok specifically states that they are displayed in profiles and do not mention chat.
Second, subscribers will have access to custom emotes specific to the creator they subscribed to. This is another core feature of Twitch, with many popular Twitch streamers spurred on by demand for access to their emotes. The third benefit is also a Twitch-like privilege for subscribers. This is subscriber-only chat access, if a TikTok LIVE streamer decides to make their chat subscriber-only.
TikTok LIVE subscriptions are not yet available for TikTok accounts. At the moment, the feature is only available to select creators that TikTok has chosen individually. The feature will roll out to everyone in the coming months, but will still have restrictions. Subscriptions will only be available to people who are 18 or older and have at least 1,000 followers on their account.
Clearly, TikTok believes that investing more in supporting the livestreaming economy on its platform has value. Subscriptions will also make TikTok much more viable for streamers to make a living on the platform. Whether that means streamers will make the jump to TikTok, or new streamers will start the ICT Tac instead of Twitch or YouTube, remains to be seen. Regardless, the streaming platform wars continue to escalate.
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