Tal Hacmon
January 16, 2022

The Future of Exclusive Content on Social Media: What it means for the creator economy

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There's been a lot of talks lately about social media subscriptions and their impact on the creator economy and users. Most people seem to agree that the move towards paid subscription models is a positive one, as it allows content creators to earn a living from their work. However, there are some who worry that this will result in a decrease in user engagement, as people become less inclined to visit different websites and platforms if they have to pay for access. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at both sides of the argument and try to come to a conclusion about how social media subscriptions will affect the industry as a whole. 

The big players are coming out to play

In early January, Instagram announced that they will be launching a subscription model for their website. This means that users will have to pay to access certain features, such as the ability to see posts from people they don't follow. While this change is sure to anger some users, it's also a positive step forward for the platform. Instagram has long been known for its free access, and the introduction of a subscription model signals a shift in the company's priorities. It's clear that Instagram is now focusing on generating revenue, both for creators and the company, and this new subscription plan is one way of achieving that goal. For content creators, this change is also good news. With subscriptions in place, they can now earn a living from their work without having to rely on ad revenue. This will certainly make Instagram a more attractive platform, and may even lead some creators to abandon other social media sites (such as Tiktok) in favor of Instagram. However, it's important not to get too excited about this development. While it is true that the subscription model will allow content creators to earn revenue from their work, we must not forget that eventually, Meta will also be cutting into this revenue stream. Content creators will be forced to share a portion of their earnings with Instagram every month. This might not seem like such a big deal, given that we're still talking about a small portion of revenue, but it can quickly add up - especially if Instagram subscriptions will become popular. It's also important to keep in mind that users will have to subscribe to access certain content or features on the platform. As such, many people may be unwilling to pay every month even if the subscription fee is fairly low. For these reasons, it's important not to get too carried away with this development. While Instagram has taken a step in the right direction by introducing paid subscriptions, it will take some time before they can capitalize on the change and really make money.

Tiktok considers adding subscriptions as well

TikTok is currently considering allowing paid subscriptions as well. This would give users access to exclusive content and features that are not available to those who do not subscribe.  This will also be a major development for TikTok, as it would help the app compete with other social media platforms such as Instagram. Same as Instagram, Tiktok paid subscriptions would allow content creators to generate revenue from their work, which is currently not possible on TikTok. Another interesting aspect to consider is how Tiktok will handle subscriptions since their algorithm is showing content based on engagement rather than who you follow.  It's still unclear whether or not paid subscriptions will be introduced on TikTok, but the company is definitely considering the possibility. If paid subscriptions are introduced, it will be interesting to see how they impact the app's popularity and usage and to see how Tiktok and Instagram compete for content creators' hearts.

The impact on social media sites

Subscriptions will change the way users behave on social media platforms, as this new development shows. Instead of visiting different websites or platforms just to view content that's publicly available, they'll have to subscribe if they want access to certain features or content. This will lead many users to stick to one or two social media sites instead of exploring different platforms and websites, which is unfortunate for people who want to reach a wide audience. People may also be less willing to explore new social media sites if they have already subscribed to access features on their existing platform. This means that many platforms will need to rely on other factors (such as unique features) in order to attract new users. In short, social media subscriptions will have both positive and negative effects on the industry as a whole. 

So, what's in it for fans?

Fans of Instagram will benefit from paid subscriptions in a few ways.  First, they will have access to exclusive content that is not available on other platforms. This includes both photos and videos that are not available to the general public.  Second, fans will be able to see posts from their favorite creators before anyone else. This means that they can get a sneak peek at new content before it is made public.  Third, paid subscriptions will allow fans to support their favorite creators financially. This could help creators continue producing high-quality content for their followers.  There is also the potential for exclusivity to backfire. If people feel like they are being left out or excluded from something, it can lead to negative feelings towards the brand or individual involved. So it’s important for creators to use exclusivity thoughtfully, and make sure that everyone who wants access feels included.

How is this going to impact subscription platforms like Patreon?

There is no definitive answer, as it will depend on how Instagram implements paid subscriptions and how it compares to other platforms like Patreon.  But Patreon is likely to be the platform that is most hurt by Instagram's paid subscriptions. Patreon relies on people paying for exclusive content, and Instagram's paid subscriptions will make it harder for people to justify paying for a subscription on Patreon. This could lead to a decline in Patreon subscriptions, as people may decide to get their content elsewhere. If Patreon is not able to stay competitive in the social media landscape, then creators may prefer to use Instagram's paid subscriptions instead. However, if Patreon offers features that are not available on Instagram, then creators may choose to stay on Patreon.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and whether or not Patreon will be able to stay competitive in the social media landscape. 

Small content creators in trouble?

The main concern is that paid subscriptions may negatively affect smaller content creators, who won't be able to generate as much revenue from their posts and will find it difficult to compete against larger creators with large followings.  Smaller creators may not be able to generate as much revenue from paid subscriptions, which could lead to them losing out on potential revenue. It is also unclear whether paid subscriptions will benefit content creators monetarily, and when or if Instagram will deduct commissions from the subscriptions creators earn, but content creators have a new game to play with paid subscriptions, and it's definitely going to be interesting!

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