Twitter is launching a $3-a-month subscription service called Twitter Blue, reports Twitter user and tipster Jane Manchun Wong. Twitter Blue will include exclusive features such as an “undo” tweet button and collections, a way to save and organize a user’s favorite tweets into bookmarked collections for easy reference later. Manchun Wong also says that Twitter is planning a tiered subscription model with more features for the higher-priced tiers. Twitter has not confirmed the name of the service, pricing, or the specific features it will include.
Manchun Wong said the screenshot below is not a final version of Twitter Blue, but a work in progress. Twitter will reveal the pertinent details when they officially launch their subscription product.
Clutter-free news on Twitter
Manchun Wong believes that a paid subscription may also give Twitter users the option to enjoy a clutter-free news experience.
Twitter confirmed this when they announced their acquisition of Scroll earlier this month.
“…we plan to include Scroll as part of an upcoming subscription offering we’re currently exploring. As a Twitter subscriber, picture getting access to premium features where you can easily read articles from your favorite news outlets or a writer’s newsletter from Revue, with a portion of your subscription going to the publishers and writers creating the content,” said Mike Park, vice president of product, in a May 4 blog post.
Last summer, Twitter surveyed users to find out what features they’d be willing to pay for. Ideas under consideration for platform monetization, subscription features and paid tools include the following:
- Ability to tip users in which Twitter would take a cut
- Profile customization such as customer colors
- “Undo” sending of tweets
- Subscription-based access to Tweetdeck
- Social listening tools
- Brand surveys
- Auto responses
- Profile badges
- A paid, ad-free option
These possible features are in addition to features that Twitter revealed on its Analyst Day 2021 that it will offer including Super Follow, Communities, Spaces and Revue. Super Follow will be the first paid feature. With Super Follow, Twitter users can pay a monthly subscription fee to get access to exclusive content not available to regular users. The subscription content can include exclusive or bonus tweets, access to community groups, exclusive videos, offers and discounts, paid newsletters and supporter badges.
Twitter has talked about adding subscriptions to its business model to diversify revenue for some time. This would allow them to move away from their dependence on advertising revenue and data licensing and other revenue. In the first quarter of 2021, Twitter reported total revenue of $1.04 billion with $137 million (13.3%) coming from data licensing and other revenue and $899 million (86.7%) coming from advertising. Twitter also reported approximately 199 million* users worldwide with 38 million in the U.S. and 162 million (*rounding done by Twitter). This data shows how dependent on advertising Twitter is and the potential market for subscribers.
There has been a lot of negative talk on Twitter about people not wanting to pay for what has always been a free service, especially with the Twitter Blue news. There is no indication that Twitter intends to remove the free social media platform that exists today. The company wants to ride the subscription wave and make itself more sustainable. If 2020 taught us anything, it is that no single revenue source like advertising is guaranteed. Twitter needs to evolve its business model to protect itself and also to help pay for the improvements users want. Whether you love Twitter or hate it, you can understand that, financially, moving to a freemium model is a smart play.