What you need to know
- Reports indicate Twitter is looking into various ways to make more revenue.
- Ideas in consideration include "tipping", charging for more features, making users pay for TweetDeck, and more.
- Twitter is not making the decision lightly and is putting a "high bar" on whatever it decides to do.
Rumors of Twitter mulling a subscription model have been around for years, and even though it hasn't had the same level of user or revenue growth as its closest rival, Facebook, we have yet to see the company implement and such a model. Still, that doesn't mean Twitter has given up on trying to figure out ways to increase its revenue stream, and according to a report from Bloomberg, Twitter has several different ideas in consideration.
A subscription-based model is the most obvious way to go, although there are several different kinds of implementations being considered. Twitter could charge members for exclusive content from accounts they follow or even introduce a "tipping" feature. Twitter recently acquired Revue, a service that aims to help anyone start their own newsletter. While the company reduced its fee and made premium features free, it signals Twitter's interest in user-generated content. TweetDeck, which is an ad-free service for users to follow and manage multiple accounts and timelines, has also been thrown into the talks as the company could start charging to use it.
A more interesting take would be that Twitter may charge to use more advanced features. This could include things like higher quality video, verification, analytics, and more. It could even open the door to features like custom profile colors, "undo send", and potentially even the long-awaited "edit" button. The company has also been experimenting with features such as Spaces, which lets users form group audio chats à la Clubhouse and the divisive Fleets feature which is Twitter's version of Snapchat Stories. It wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility that Twitter decides to charge for any of these once some of its more experimental features start to mature.
Twitter CFO, Ned Segal, previously stated that the company was in very early discussions last summer, and wants to set a "high bar" for how it plans to implement a payment model for the platform.
You'll be able to see us try all kinds of different things. It could be higher-quality video. It could be analytics. It could be business presence. It could be the ability to look at something in a different way than you might be able to today.
Twitter currently makes revenue with ads, but financially that can only take the company so far. The platform has not been nearly as aggressive as Facebook when it comes to ads, which is a large factor in why it remains free for users. If Twitter does decide to start charging its users for certain features or content, it could alienate users and negatively impact its user-base, meaning Twitter has no choice but to be careful and put high standards on how it goes about it.