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Twitter is reportedly eyeing a subscription service to curb its reliance on advertising. Various ideas are being floated, including one that would let users pay the people they follow for exclusive content, according to Bloomberg.
Other revenue-generating proposals include charging for programs like Tweetdeck or advanced features like “undo send” or profile-customization options, the news agency said, citing people familiar with the effort.
“Increasing revenue durability is our top company objective,” Twitter’s revenue product lead Bruce Falck said in a statement emailed to PCMag. “You will see us continue to research and experiment with ways to further diversify our revenue beyond ads in 2021 and beyond”—including subscriptions and “other approaches” that allow people and businesses access to “unique features and enhanced opportunities.”
The social network has been mulling the idea of subscriptions since at least 2017, when reports suggested a more advanced (i.e. paid) version of Tweetdeck aimed at marketers, journalists, and professionals. In return for a monthly fee, users would get access to elite alerts, trends, advanced analytics, and posting tools.
That, of course, never came to fruition, and talk of charges died down until last year, when a software engineer job listing revealed that a new Twitter team was “building a subscription platform.” A second listing on LinkedIn suggested the group—codenamed Gryphon—would “rebuild some of Twitter’s services to produce a subscription management platform.”
It’s unclear exactly what’s cooking in the Twitter labs, but Bloomberg hinted at possible features including an ad-free feed, exclusive content, higher-quality video, verification, better analytics, and other perks like custom colors, hashtags, or stickers.
“While we’re excited about this potential, it’s important to note we are still in very early exploration and we do not expect any meaningful revenue attributable to these opportunities in 2021,” Falck said. “Given the massive opportunity to build upon our strengths, our main focus continues to be on growing our ads business.”
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