Douyin’s paid-for content on the rise

Recent popularity of short dramas on WeChat attracted many new viewers to a kind of content they may not have considered before.

Photo by Zeng Yu

Photo by Zeng Yu

By XIAO Fang


ByteDance’s short-video platform Douyin expanded testing of paid short-video content on Thursday. It’s no longer just dramas where viewers can pay to unlock certain content. It’s knowledge, stand-up comedy, animations, recipes, meditation… Just about everything.

One piece of paid content requires payment of 1 Douyin coin, 10 Douyin coins cost 1 yuan (US$0.14). During the viewing of paid videos, the platform does not support screen recording.

Creators need a fan base of at least 100,000 to take part, but they decided what’s paid for and what’s for free, but the platform rakes off a substantial 30 percent, something Douyin describes as a common practice, without further clarification.

The recent popularity of short dramas on WeChat drew the attention of many to a kind of content they had not considered before. With stimulating plots, each episode lasts 1-2 minutes, and Douyin coins can be quickly gobbled up.

Paying for content is increasingly accepted, which goes hand-in-hand with greatly increased quality. Short videos are now seen as worth paying for.

This is most significant for creators in the knowledge and education fields. For these creators, opening up content payments means they can earn more through high-quality content.

Previously, science creators told Jiemian News that monetizing content was challenging because advertising content did not align well, significantly impacting the user experience and with low conversion rates.