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Twitter subscription could mean paying for TweetDeck; introduce Periscope-style tipping

Long-running speculation about a Twitter subscription was given new weight by a job ad last summer before tentative plans were confirmed by CEO Jack Dorsey. A new report today suggests that this could involve being charged to use Tweetdeck.

Another revenue-generation option being examined is to allow people to tip Twitter users in return for access to exclusive content, with Twitter taking a cut – something previously offered in Periscope

Bloomberg reports:

Twitter Inc. is building a subscription product as a way to ease its dependence on advertising – a plan the social network has considered for years, and one that has taken on a heightened priority given the pandemic and pressure from activist investors to accelerate growth […]

To explore potential options outside ad sales, a number of Twitter teams are researching subscription offerings, including one using the code name “Rogue One,” according to people familiar with the effort.

At least one idea being considered is related to “tipping,” or the ability for users to pay the people they follow for exclusive content, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are internal.

Other possible ways to generate recurring revenue include charging for the use of services like Tweetdeck or advanced user features like “undo send” or profile-customization options.

Twitter last year asked users what features they would consider paying for, but omitted the one feature everyone has asked for – an edit function.

  • An “undo send” window that would allow you to recall a tweet within 30 seconds
  • Custom colors for the Twitter app and website
  • The ability to post longer and higher-resolution videos
  • More advanced analytics
  • Custom profile badges
  • Canned responses to select from for faster replies
  • Job recruiting features
  • Custom stickers and hashtags
  • Insights into other accounts
  • “User roles,” which would make it easier for large organizations to grant access to company accounts without having to directly share passwords
  • Fewer or no ads at all

While Tweetdeck is popular among social media managers who have to monitor and post across multiple accounts, it’s unclear how many individuals would pay for it.

More generally, analysts have expressed doubt about any meaningful proportion of Twitter users being willing to pay anything at all for extra features. A reader poll we ran back when the first talk of a Twitter subscription began found that only 10% were willing to pay $5/month for an ad-free feed, and almost nobody was okay with paying more.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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