Known for setting trends and hosting a massive platform for users to showcase their creative content, TikTok is reportedly testing a new ad-free paid subscription plan.
Currently, TikTok is trying out the ad-free tier in one English-speaking market outside the U.S., as confirmed by TechCrunch. The plan will cost $4.99 a month and lacks the ads TikTok relies on to generate revenue. Android Authority first noted a code in the TikTok app saying it was conducting a test of an ad-free plan.
TikTok did not respond to a request for comment.
However, the company confirmed with TechCrunch that the test is not available everywhere yet and may not launch. The app still offers the standard free access, so if participants don’t find enough value in a paid subscription, the trial could shut down without a global launch. A look through user reviews shows an ad-free version would be welcome to many members frustrated with the number of advertisements interrupting their video feeds.
Every social media platform relies on ads to keep running, and TikTok is no different since launching in 2016. The app generated $9.4 billion in revenue last year, according to a report by Business of Apps.
Now, it is trying a different tactic to generate revenue by appealing to members who want to enjoy videos without being interrupted by advertisements. The app has 1.7 billion active users this year, and the Business of Apps predicts TikTok will reach two billion in 2024.
Charging for membership perks is nothing new to social media, although it is a first for TikTok. In 2022, Snapchat launched a Snapchat Plus for $3.99, followed by Twitter later last November. Meta is now considering charging European members $14.99 for an ad-free version of Instagram and Facebook if users don’t agree to let the company use personal data for targeted ads, according to The Wall Street Journal.