Twitter CEO says he is considering subscription model

Twitter explores subscription model: CEO Jack Dorsey says he is considering asking users to pay for ‘aspects’ of the social network

  • Mr Dorsey revealed the plans during a conference call with financial analysts
  • It is unclear how much a subscription could cost or what exactly it would include
  • Twitter’s second quarter ad revenues are down by 23% on same period in 2019
  • The platform’s advertising revenues have fallen as a consequence of COVID-19 
  • A subscription model would be one method for Twitter to bolster its earnings
  • Rumours of a similar move earlier this month saw its shares rise by 7.34 per cent 

Twitter is exploring potential ways to further monetise its platform — including considering introducing a paid subscription model — the firm indicated today.

CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly revealed the plans during a conference call with analysts to discuss the firm’s relatively disappointing second quarter earning results.

Twitter’s advertising revenue has fallen by 23 per cent from the same period last year — down to $562 million — as advertisers cut back on spending amid COVID-19.

However, the firm’s stock surged earlier this year when rumours of a subscription platform, ‘Gryphon’, first surfaced online — indicating investor interest.

It is not known what parts of the platform would potentially become subscriber-only, but Mr Dorsey indicated that this may be revealed in the coming months.

Also unclear at present is how much a Twitter subscription might end up costing.

Twitter is exploring potential ways to further monetise its platform — including considering introducing a subscription model — the firm indicated today

According to CNN Business, Mr Dorsey has said that ‘you will likely see some tests this year’ of new revenue-generating approaches on the Twitter platform.

However the social media firm was only in the ‘very, very early phases of exploring’ such measures, he added.

Mr Dorsey also said that he has ‘a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter.’ 

Until now, Twitter has offered a free service — creating revenue instead by enabling other firms to purchase targeted ads deployed to appropriate sections of the platform’s millions-strong userbase.

However, the platform’s advertising income has suffered financially from both the effects of coronavirus pandemic and from recent advertising boycotts linked to the racial justice protests in the United States.

‘We want to make sure any new line of revenue is complementary to our advertising business,’ Mr Dorsey said, according to CNN Business.

‘We do think there is a world where subscription is complementary, where commerce is complementary, where helping people manage paywalls […] is complementary.’

CEO Jack Dorsey (pictured here in April 2019) reportedly revealed the plans during a conference call with analyst to discuss the firm's relatively disappointing second quarter earning results. Twitter's ad-based revenue has fallen by 23 per cent from the same period last year ¿ down to $562 million ¿ as advertisers cut back on spending amid COVID-19

CEO Jack Dorsey (pictured here in April 2019) reportedly revealed the plans during a conference call with analyst to discuss the firm’s relatively disappointing second quarter earning results. Twitter’s ad-based revenue has fallen by 23 per cent from the same period last year — down to $562 million — as advertisers cut back on spending amid COVID-19

The announcement by Mr Dorsey comes in the wake of a ‘tough week’ for Twitter, which saw the social media platform subjected to an attack which compromised a number of high-profile accounts to promote a crypto-currency scam.

Victims of the hack included politicians such as US presidential candidate Joe Biden and former US President Barack Obama, CEOs including Tesla’s Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and celebrity Kanye West. 

Yesterday, Twitter revealed that 36 individuals — including an elected official from the Netherlands — had their direct message history exposed during the attack.

According to CNN Business, Mr Dorsey today apologised for the breach, noting that the company ‘fell behind’ on its security obligations.

‘We feel terrible about the security incident,” he reportedly said. 

‘Security doesn’t have an end point. It’s a constant iteration.’

‘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.’

Despite Twitter’s recent problems, however, shares in the firm rose by 4 per cent in early trading this morning, following the release of the second quarter figures.