Instagram is working on ways creators can take their subscriber list and take them to apps and websites built by other ...
- Last week,
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram announced that Instagram is testing its subscriptionmodel for select content creators in the US, a news that was received with much enthusiasm by creators across the globe.
- We spoke to a few experts and creators to understand its larger implication for creators and what's in it for the audience.
“With Instagram Subscriptions, creators can develop deeper connections with their most engaged followers and grow their recurring monthly income by giving subscribers access to exclusive content and benefits, all within the same platform where they interact with them already,” explained the platform in a statement.
Instagram has started testing subscriptions with a handful of creators in the US who will be able to set a monthly price of their choice, unlock a “subscribe” button on their profile and offer the following benefits to their subscribers:
Subscriber Lives: Creators can broadcast exclusive Lives to their subscribers, allowing them to engage more deeply.
Subscriber Stories: Creators can create stories just for their subscribers, allowing them to share exclusive content and to use interactive story stickers with their most engaged followers only.
Subscriber Badges: Creators will see a subscriber badge next to comments and messages so they can easily identify their subscribers.
“Over time, we hope to expand these features because it's important that subscriptions are integrated throughout the entire Instagram experience. We also believe creators should own their relationship with their subscribers. So we are working on ways creators can take their subscriber list and bring them off of Instagram to other apps and websites built by other companies," Mosseri said.
To understand the larger implications of this move on creators and the overall creator ecosystem, we reached out to a few experts and creators and here’s how they took the news:
Instagram is surely one of the ‘you can’t imagine internet without it’ platform, with a vast user base not just in India, but worldwide as well. This subscription feature will definitely encourage and motivate more creators to get on the platform, make quality content and create a passive source of income. The creators here, unlike working with brands, will have the full content/creative control, thus the conversion factor will solely depend upon the creator.
True fans who want to enjoy exclusive content and benefits will be enthusiastic towards subscription models. We’ve seen good community support where users don’t mind paying a certain fees to avail more of their favourite content, so hoping this new feature will be a good start for not just established creators but also for the one’s who have just started their journey. The audience can then be a part of their favourite creators’ exclusive community.
Content is the core of any social media or short video app. With the growing number of these apps in the last few years, creators have multiple options today on which they can showcase their talent. Adding a subscription feature will allow Instagram to offer a more complete solution to content creators. Multiple income streams coming from a single platform, in turn, will add to app stickiness.
Today, Indian consumers are willing to pay a premium for exclusive content and we have seen this with a growing number of OTT, and subscription-based publications. The model is also validated by players in the USA who currently allow creators to monetize their premium content via subscriptions. Interestingly, we did a survey with Wobb influencers recently on subscription-based content, 42% of the respondents were concerned about not being able to differentiate enough consistently to charge for a premium on the content. Therefore, it may not be the smoothest ride, at least in the beginning. But in the long run, I think the market will adapt to this and we will see many interesting ways in which creators differentiate, and monetize via the subscription route."
Aayushman Sinha, Co Founder and Director, BlackCab
Adam Mosseri's announcement of subscriptions today is a monumental step towards the creator economy. While Memberships were already available to certain creators on YouTube, the mass of content creators in India actively participate on Instagram and will be the biggest beneficiaries. From subscriber only live streams to subscriber badges, 'fan affinity' will finally be monetized in lines with the current NFT culture. It will be exciting to see how creators use their paid subscriber lists and take them off platform for deeper engagement, for example a musician taking his paid subscribers for an in person album listening party before it releases. Truly exciting times ahead for both creators and brands with a strong following! The audience too can now finally look at more meaningful engagement beyond the simple like and comment and also truly flex their support with superfan subscriber badges, exclusive content and the various subscriber only benefits that will be built specifically for them.
The power of community on Instagram can finally be monetized!
Gautam Madhavan, CEO, Mad Influence
First and foremost, this is not a new phenomenon in the social media sphere. This was previously available on YouTube. There is currently a YouTube subscription service that allows you to subscribe to influencers, channels, and exclusive material. Because only those with paid memberships may subscribe, it offers a new money source for influencers and helps them to establish a more devoted following. Only 5% of a million individuals subscribe to their favourite producers or influencers, demonstrating how much they appreciate and admire their work. This 5% will be converted into actual money, which will become an income stream for the artists as well as a long-term fan following. As a result, the community grows stronger and the creators will also be motivated to create more quality content for their exclusive paid subscribers.
Instagram’s subscription model just proves that Instagram is all here for the support of the creators and grow of the creator economy. With subscription model coming in, many might start taking content creation on Instagram more seriously. Not only as a thing to express but also a career choice. So we can see many creators emerging not only in India but also in the whole world.
The best part about the subscription model is that audience will get to interact with the creators directly. They will get to learn from them and as creators will form real bonds with their audience, it will also help them to gain loyal followers in the long run. This will also remove the virtual gap that audience and creators have and that will only develop more trust. As creators will know their audience personally, this will help them create content their audience wants.
Abhiraj Rajadhyaksha & Niyati Mavinkurve (Abhi and Niyu)- Digital Content Creator:
Instagram testing subscriptions is probably the most exciting news for creators, even in India. Although features are generally rolled out quite late to India as a market, for creators, there is now a viable form of earning from the platform.
So, the problem of creating content is two-fold. One, the creators need to find a reliable source of monetization so that they can continue to create content that they love. Two, many people from the audience want to support creators but they don’t know how to. Adding subscriptions will solve both these problems, especially for smaller creators. As of now, monetization on Instagram is limited to brand collaborations and finding the right brands for your vision can be difficult, especially if you are creating content in a narrow niche.
The audience will benefit from this move. One, they can get exclusive perks from the creator, like special lives, special interactions, visibility in comments. The audience can be a part of an exclusive community and get directly in touch with the creator. India’s audience at the moment is used to consuming content for free. However, with multiple different OTT platforms, they’re slowly maturing into an audience that will also pay to watch content or get exclusive perks. There will also be creators who use subscriptions as their only form of monetization without any brand collaborations. In such a case, the bond between the creator and the audience willing to pay is even deeper. The audience will know that they’re helping the creator produce content that they love to watch.
Arushi Gupta, Head-
I feel like this is an incredibly exciting time to be a creator and a consumer. Today most people don’t understand that content creation is an extremely time-consuming, full-time job and this feature will provide creators a way to sustain themselves financially. At the same time, creators will also have a certain sense of responsibility and accountability towards their audiences.
Though the Indian market will take some time to adapt to this, I anticipate that this will eventually grow on us. If a few years ago someone told me I would be paying to watch movies on the internet, I would laugh it off. But here I am (and 4.4 million other Indians) paying for a Netflix subscription.
With creators having more creative freedom, the platform hosting better quality content and audiences not being saturated with ads, the implications it will have on the creator economy are endless. Sounds like a win-win for all!’