Social networking site Twitter could introduce a paid subscription service this year.
According to a report from CNN, the company’s CEO has briefed analysts at the company’s second-quarter earnings report of the potential introduction of a premium subscription service, following a significant drop in ad revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
The company is planning to test a number of options this year but said that there’s a “really high bar” that the company must set before users would part with their cash.
Twitter is, therefore, in the “very, very early phases” of experimenting with different subscription models and there’s no word on when we’d see anything concrete from the company, if at all.
The idea of a subscription-based Twitter has been banded around for years, but earlier in the month, the firm posted a job advertisement for a new subscription platform codenamed Gryphon.
It’s expected this job opening is part of Twitter building a new team for its plans.
Right now, Twitter is free to use and revenue is generated from advertisements that appear in users’ timelines. However, Dorsey has teased that he thinks there’s a “world” where Twitter could work without adverts, hence the idea of a “complementary” subscription plan.
Speaking of his vision, Dorsey said: “We want to make sure any new line of revenue is complementary to our advertising business. We do think there is a world where subscription is complementary, where commerce is complementary, where helping people manage paywalls … we think is complementary.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, spending on advertising has dropped industry-wide, with Facebook and Google the worst affected. Twitter’s latest quarter results are down almost a quarter on its 2019 figures, which is not good news for the company or its shareholders.
The news follows last week’s Twitter hack, in which several high-profile accounts (including Apple, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk) were hacked. It was part of an elaborate bitcoin scam, and Twitter has confirmed it has got to the root of the problem and will implement new security policies.
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