Twitter is considering new ways to generate money from its users, including by adopting a subscription model. Here’s everything we know so far.

Why is Twitter considering subscriptions?

On 23 July, days after a massive security breach at Twitter, CEO Jack Dorsey revealed in an investor’s call for second-quarter earnings results that the platform is exploring additional ways to earn revenue, especially given a recent sharp decline in its core advertising business. “You will likely see some tests this year,” Dorsey said, adding he has “a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter”.

The CEO confirmed Twitter wants to diversify its revenue sources and that it is in the “very, very early phases of exploring”. He added, “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.”

In a tweet, Twitter later Dorsey’s comments: “We’re also in early stages of exploring add’l potential revenue products that complement our advertising business, which may include subscriptions and others. It is very early; we do not expect any revenue against these in 2020.”

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Why is Twitter’s ad revenue in decline?

There is a myriad of reasons why Twitter’s ad revenue is in decline and thus looking to diversify and launch a subscription model. For instance, CNN thinks the company has been hit by advertisers participating in an ad boycott of social media over nationwide racial justice protests.

However, Dorsey himself described the second week of July as a “tough week”. It suffered a massive hack in which numerous verified accounts – including those of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos – were compromised. This likely affected ad revenue greatly.

Dorsey apologised for the security breach, claiming the company “fell behind” and his team feels “terrible” about the incident. 

“Security doesn’t have an end point. It’s a constant iteration,” the CEO added. “We will continue to go above and beyond here as we continue to secure our systems and as we continue to work with external firms and law enforcement.” 

When will Twitter launch subscriptions?

Twitter is in the early stages of exploring subscription options and has not yet announced when it will launch one for Twitter users.

How much will a Twitter subscription cost?

Again, Twitter has not yet launched a subscription option, let alone announce how much one would cost Twitter users.

Twitter subscriptions: What’s happened so far?

23 July 2020: Twitter confirms it’s exploring a subscription option

CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed during an investor’s call that Twitter is exploring subscriptions. The company also confirmed the news in a tweet.

8 July 2020: Is Twitter launching a subscription option?

Reports about a paid Twitter option first surfaced after the company posted a job opening that seemed to be about it building a subscription platform codenamed “Gryphon”. Twitter’s stock surged at the time, a sure-fire sign of investor appetite.

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