In a move to diversify its revenue, microblogging site Twitter has said that it is planning to offer a subscription service, in which users will have to pay for special content from high-profile accounts, as part of an economic model.
The globally popular social media platform announced the potential new Super Follows service at its annual investor meeting, as it searches for new revenue streams beyond targeted advertising.
“Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.
Twitter said it was exploring new money-making features, including tipping and paid subscriptions to “super follow” some accounts. The second feature, which lets users charge their followers for access to additional content, will launch this year, a spokesman said.
The site, typically used to broadcast short messages to a wide audience, is also working on building more ways for people to have conversations, it said.
This includes hosting live audio discussions using its ‘Spaces’ feature, which is being tested with about 1,000 users, and letting people share longer-form content using Revue, a newsletter publishing service Twitter acquired last month.
It is also considering allowing “communities” to be created for particular interests.
Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s head of consumer product, said creators would be able to customize communities, including setting and enforcing “social norms” beyond Twitter’s rules.
The efforts are designed to help Twitter reach its goal of at least 315 million monetizable daily active users (mDAU), or those who see ads, by the fourth quarter of 2023, and stay ahead of wildly popular but smaller apps like ByteDance’s TikTok, which have quickly attracted a worldwide audience through its viral videos.
Senior executives of Twitter also discussed Super Follows while outlining goals and plans for the near future during the streamed presentation.
“We are examining and rethinking the incentives of our service — the behaviors that our product features encourage and discourage as people participate in the conversation on Twitter,” the spokesperson said.
Super Follows was described during the presentation as a way for Twitter audiences to financially support creators and receive newsletters, exclusive content and even virtual badges in exchange.
Twitter, which currently makes money from ads and promoted posts, might be able to add additional revenue via the Super Follows transactions.
No timeline was given for when Super Follows might become a feature, but it is expected that the tech giant will make further announcements in the coming months.
‘We know we’ve been slow’
Twitter will launch new features and products faster to catch up with rivals in a plan to double annual revenue and reach at least 315 million users in 2023, it said on Thursday, boosting its shares 5.6%.
“We know we’ve been slow,” Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said in an investor day presentation. “When you compare us with our peers, it’s been especially stark.”
Twitter, like Google and Facebook, makes most of its money from digital advertising.
The social media network estimated annual revenue of at least $7.5 billion by the end of 2023.
Twitter shares were up more than 4% at $75.16 late Thursday afternoon, after reaching an all-time high of $80.75.
Meanwhile, Twitter is facing challenges in India, a rapidly growing market with plans to require that social media companies erase certain content and coordinate with law enforcement.
Twitter had previously refused to delete content connected to farmers’ protests in India.