Twitter is considering adding a subscription product to ease its dependence on advertising. At the moment, Twitter’s majority revenue comes from targeted advertising.
Having a separate revenue stream, was a plan the social network had considered for years, and one that has taken on heightened priority since the pandemic.
A number of twitter teams, according to Bloomberg, are researching subscription offerings and the possible ways to generate recurring revenue include charging for the use of services like Tweetdeck or advanced user services like “undo send” or profile customization options.
Twitter Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal said on a call with investors last year that a subscription option of some kind would offer sales “durability,” and recurring revenue is more consistent than advertising spending. Segal cautioned in July that Twitter was not only “very, very early” in exploring a subscription service, but also planned to be picky about how it goes forward. “We have a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter,” he said.
“Increasing revenue durability is our top company objective,” Bruce Falck, Twitter’s head of revenue products, said in a statement, adding that this “may include” subscriptions. “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.”
Subscription services has always been a good alternative to advertising, but social networks have traditionally stayed free as a way to encourage user growth and engagement. The company had mentioned the idea of subscriptions on the past two quarterly calls, but they have been slow in making product decisions.