TikTok is experimenting with an exclusive chat room for paying fans called ‘Sub Space’

Short-form video platform TikTok is testing a new feature called “Sub Space” that aims to deepen engagement between creators and their paying subscribers.

The experimental feature was first spotted by X user Jonah Manzano, saying Sub Space lets creators “simply post threads with a topic and create polls for subscribers.”

TikTok confirmed to TechCrunch on Tuesday (February 13) that it is indeed testing Sub Space, describing it as a feature that will help creators boost their community engagement and offer subscribers an additional perk.

Currently in early testing, Sub Space functions as a subscriber-only space within live streams. Creators can use it to answer questions, conduct polls, and create more intimate interactions with their paying audience. This goes beyond existing subscriber perks like exclusive videos, offering real-time engagement and a sense of community for dedicated fans.

Screenshots posted by Manzano reveal features like topic-based conversation threads. Similar to Instagram‘s Broadcast Channels, creators can share personal updates and life snippets. Dedicated threads could announce live schedules, keeping subscribers informed.

Polls serve various purposes, from gauging audience preferences for future streams to determining preferred streaming times. This direct feedback loop benefits both creators and subscribers, tailoring content and improving engagement.

Sub Space builds upon existing subscription perks like exclusive videos, offering real-time interaction instead of pre-recorded content. This direct engagement could strengthen creator-fan relationships, potentially leading to increased loyalty and support, and more paying subscribers, ultimately translating to financial benefits.

The experiment comes amid significant discussions surrounding creator monetization on social media platforms. While features like tipping and subscriptions have become common, creators often struggle to convert viewers into paying supporters. X, formerly Twitter, started sharing revenue with creators in mid-2023 when Elon Musk took over the company. Through X’s Creator Ads Revenue Sharing, creators on the platform are now able to collect a portion of the revenue generated by the ads embedded in their threads.

The development follows the ByteDance-owned company’s decision to shut down its $1 billion Creator Fund in the US, UK, Germany and France, in mid-December. It means creators in those markets no longer have access to the original fund for monetizing their content.

TikTok has since been encouraging creators to join its Creativity Program unveiled in February 2023, which requires creators to produce videos longer than a minute, a departure from the app’s original focus on short clips. 

Instead of a fixed fund, TikTok said the earnings under the Creativity Program would be based on factors such as views and other engagement metrics. 

Over the pasts few months, TikTok has also experimented with other features including an AI song tool that uses a large language model to power lyric generation prompted by text inputs, an ad-free monthly subscription plan, and automatic AI content detection that will enable creators to label AI-generated content that they upload to the platform.

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