Instagram starts testing Subscriptions feature that lets creators charge for content

Only 10 creators, including college basketball player Sedona Prince and Olympic gymnast Jordan Chiles, have been invited to participate in the program while it's in alpha testing.

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Dan was a writer on CNET's How-To and Thought Leadership teams. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Architectural Digest and elsewhere. He is a crossword junkie and is interested in the intersection of tech and marginalized communities.
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Dan Avery
2 min read
Instagram Subscriptions

With Instagram Subscriptions, creators can broadcast subscriber-only Stories.


Instagram on Wednesday started testing Subscriptions, a new feature allowing creators to offer paid followers access to exclusive content.

At launch, only 10 US creators have gained access to the new feature during its alpha testing phase, including basketball player Sedona Prince, model Kelsey Cook, actor-influencer Alan Chikin Chow, Olympic gymnast Jordan Chiles and digital creator Lonnie IIV.

Content can be set at a variety of monthly prices, ranging from 99 cents to $99.

"Having Subscriptions on Instagram makes building a more intimate relationship with my followers and fans possible," spirituality influencer Bunny Michael, another inaugural creator, said in a release. "I am so excited to nurture those connections and make a lasting impact that will help keep my work sustainable."

Instagram subscriptions

Spirituality influencer Bunny Michael (above right) is one of 10 content creators participating in the "alpha" test of Instagram's Subscriptions feature.


Creators can broadcast subscriber-only Lives and offer exclusive Stories with interactive stickers, polls, behind-the-scenes clips and other content -- and subscribers receive a special purple badge that helps them stand out among commenters.

Both creators and followers will be able to offer feedback to Instagram before Subscriptions is rolled out widely.

Social media platforms are increasingly looking for ways to let popular users monetize their profiles. Fellow Meta property Facebook introduced Subscriptions in 2020, and Twitter launched Super Follows last September.

"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," Instagram said, "all within the same platform where they interact with them already."

Meta announced it won't collect any fees from creators using Facebook or Instagram Subscriptions until 2023 at the earliest.

Last month, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said that the social app was going to "rethink what Instagram is" in 2022.

"We think it's important that people understand how Instagram works, if they're going to shape it into what they want, or what's best for them," Mosseri said in a Dec. 28 video posted to Twitter. "We're thinking about who we are, what we value and what kind of change we want to affect in the world." 

He indicated that among the platform's goals for the new year will be improving ways for creators to generate income on the app. 

Earlier this month, the social app began testing changes to its feed, including a return to its original chronological format. Since 2016, Instagram has ranked content based on how interested its algorithm thinks you are in posts, as determined by your history of likes and comments.