Yesterday social media platform Twitter announced their acquisition of Revue, a service for writers and publishers to monetize their editorial content through paid newsletters. In a blog post, Twitter said they purchased the platform to support publishers, writers and content creators in sharing their work and growing and connecting with their audiences. As a platform where millions of people congregate to share news, discuss issues of the day, and share content and opinions, Twitter said they want to play a larger role in sparking “meaningful discussions.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Supporting publishers, writers and content creators
“With a robust community of writers and readers, Twitter is uniquely positioned to help organizations and writers grow their readership faster and at a much larger scale than anywhere else. Many established writers and publishers have built their brand on Twitter, amassing an audience that’s hungry for the next article or perspective they Tweet,” said Kayvon Beykpour, product lead, Twitter and co-founder, Periscope, and Mike Park, vice president of publisher products, in the announcement.
“Our goal is to make it easy for them to connect with their subscribers, while also helping readers better discover writers and their content. We’re imagining a lot of ways to do this, from allowing people to sign up for newsletters from their favorite follows on Twitter, to new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers. It will all work seamlessly within Twitter,” added Park.
Revue’s suite of features
On Revue, creators can start newsletters and build their audiences for free with a suite of features to maximize their reach. Features include:
- A profile page which can used as a landing page
- Subscriber management tools including subscription forms, feedback forms, and subscriber sync
- Engagement analytics
- Scheduling options
- API access
- Browser extensions
- Ability to cross-publish to different platforms such as Medium and WordPress
- Social media sharing
- Custom domains
- Content integration with sources including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pocket
Monetizing content with paid newsletters
Revue also offers paid newsletters that allow publishers, writers and content creators to monetize their work. With their acquisition of Revue, Twitter reduced the revenue share of Revue Pro to 5%. Revue’s service is very similar to Substack, but Substack takes a 10% revenue share. Creators keep the balance of the subscription fee from their paid newsletters. Twitter’s purpose with the acquisition isn’t entirely selfless though. They want to drive engagement to Twitter.
“Bringing Revue to Twitter will supercharge this offering, helping writers grow their paid subscribers while also incentivizing them to produce engaging and relevant content that drives conversations on Twitter. You can expect audience-based monetization to be an area that we’ll continue to develop new ways to support, whether it’s helping broaden revenue streams or serving as a cornerstone of someone’s business,” Beykpour and Park said.
“We will continue to invest in Revue as a standalone service, and its team will remain focused on improving the ways writers create their newsletters, build their audience and get paid for their work. We’re also expanding their team and hiring for key roles across engineering, design, research and data science. Over time, this team will build more discovery, reading, and conversational experiences centered around long-form content on Twitter,” they added.
This was a trend we talked about in our 2021 subscription predictions article. We said that, in 2021, publishers will continue to get creative in how they reach their audiences. Last year, publishers used text-based engagement to build subscriber relationships through tools like Subtext and The New Paper. We also noted that more journalists and thought leaders would go solo, using tech tools like Substack to reach their followers directly, giving them control over their content and providing them with reliable recurring revenue. That’s exactly what Twitter is helping creators do in a service similar to Substack, but at half the cost.
Last summer, Twitter hinted at its plans to explore other revenue opportunities. Word was leaked when eagle-eyed reporters saw a job posting online for a senior full-stack software engineer who would work on building a subscription platform. A similar posting was seen on LinkedIn around the same time. In the company’s April 30, 2020 shareholder letter, Twitter also mentioned that they were shifting resources and priorities to increase their focus on revenue products. This acquisition is certainly in line with that goal.