Twitter’s subscription strategy starts to take shape

4 Jun 2021141 Views

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Twitter Blue gives paying subscribers access to additional features as the company tries to dial back its reliance on advertising revenue.

After much speculation, Twitter’s subscription future has begun to come into view with its first paid-for product – Twitter Blue.

Twitter Blue, which is launching first in Canada and Australia, gives users access to additional features for a monthly subscription fee.

There are three features as part of Blue. An ‘undo tweet’ button will let users quickly remove a tweet after posting. Users can set a timer of up to 30 seconds to undo a tweet after posting it, in a feature very similar to Gmail’s unsend function.

Secondly, paying users will be able to bookmark and manage tweets they would like to save. And finally, reader mode lets users customise their display for easier reading of content like tweet threads.

Subscribers will also be able to customise their app icons and displays and will have a dedicated customer support team.

The subscription costs C$3.49 in Canada and A$4.49 in Australia.

The company said the initial launches are intended to gain a “deeper understanding” of how to make Twitter more customisable. It has not indicated when Twitter Blue will be available in the US or other countries.

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“We will be listening to feedback and building out even more features and perks for our subscribers over time,” it said.

Twitter reiterated that its core product will remain free.

“This subscription offering is simply meant to add enhanced and complementary features to the already existing Twitter experience for those who want it.”

Twitter’s venture into subscriptions has been long anticipated as the company seeks new ways to generate revenue without relying on advertising so much.

The company has been gradually adding more strings to its bow that indicate a wider-reaching plan beyond the Twitter Blue subscriptions. It acquired Scroll, a subscription news start-up, and Revue, a newsletter platform, which could all be monetised.

Meanwhile it is rolling out Spaces, its Clubhouse rival, which the company intends to expand further with ticketed events on the live audio broadcasting feature.

Last month, Twitter also rolled out Tip Jar for users to tip each other money for their tweets.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

editorial@siliconrepublic.com