Twitter explores subscriptions to reduce its dependence on ads

You might have to pay for Tweetdeck or advanced features.

Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Not so thrilled about Twitter ads? Neither is Twitter, apparently. Bloomberg sources claim the social network is exploring subscriptions and even tipping to reduce its dependence on targeted ads. Multiple ideas are reportedly under consideration, including a mysterious “Rogue One” subscription, charging extra for Tweetdeck or commanding a premium for features like advanced profile customization.

The tipping option might let you pay for special content from the people you follow, such as detailed analysis of the latest news.

Twitter revenue products head Bruce Falck acknowledged considerations on a basic level in a statement to Bloomberg, although he didn’t confirm any specific details. The company was looking at “revenue durability” options that might involve subscriptions, he said, but this was a “very early exploration” that might not amount to any substantial income in 2021.

Word of potential paid options comes just days after Twitter bought the newsletter creation service Revue and explored options like a newsletter subscription button, although there are no indications Twitter plans to charge for newsletters.

Twitter might not be the only social media giant exploring paid service. While Facebook said it would always have a free version, it clearly left the door open to a paid model. There’s a clear incentive to look at subscriptions, at any rate. Like with other tech firms, subscriptions could give Twitter a steadier source of income that isn’t tied to the ups and downs of the market. It may have to strike a careful balance, though — advertisers might not like if any subscriptions eliminate or reduce ads.