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Instagram creators can charge for subscriptions under new test service



Instagram is launching trials of a subscription service that allows users to pay for extra content from creators, as social-media companies battle to attract individuals who can drive traffic to their platforms.

The Meta Platforms Inc. unit on Wednesday introduced the new feature in the U.S. on a limited basis, adding that it provides another way for creators to make money off their followings on the photo-sharing app.

“Creators do what they do to make a living, and it’s important that that is predictable,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said. “Subscriptions are one of the best ways to have a predictable income—a way that’s not attached to how much reach you get on any given post, which is inevitably going to go up and down over time.”

Creators will be able to offer subscribers access to exclusive Instagram Stories—the photos or video posts that disappear after 24 hours—and to Instagram Lives real-time video streaming sessions.

Instagram sister-service Facebook launched subscriptions in 2020 and said it wouldn’t collect any fees from creators until 2023 at the earliest. The same will apply to Instagram subscriptions, Meta said.

Pricing of Instagram’s subscriptions range from $0.99 to $99.99, with options in between, according to a Meta spokesperson.

Twitter Inc. a few months ago launched a similar service called “Super Follows” that allows subscribers to pay for bonus content from their favorite creators. Twitter went public with the feature in September, giving creators the option to charge $2.99, $4.99 or $9.99 a month.

Many social-media companies are pouring money into the creator economy, using financial incentives to try to entice creators to join or stay on their platforms. Snap Inc.’s Snapchat, Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and Bytedance Ltd.’s TikTok have all announced investments of massive dollar figures.

Last year, Meta—then still called Facebook Inc.—joined in, saying it would pay more than $1 billion to content creators on its apps through 2022.

Mr. Mosseri said the subscription project is starting with a relatively small number of creators and will grow over the coming months. Eventually, subscriptions should be available across Instagram.

He added that launching new features for creators is one of Instagram’s priorities for the year. Another focus is developing the platform for teens.

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