Twitter To Let Publishers Charge To Read Articles

Twitter under the ownership of Elon Musk has announced a move to help publishers charge for users to access their content.

On Saturday, Elon Musk tweeted that in May Twitter will allow media publishers to charge users on a per article basis with one click – for users wanting to avoid paying for a full subscription.

The move is another attempt by Musk to decrease Twitter’s reliance on advertising, with many major brands still not returning to the platform.

Publisher offer

Indeed, more than half of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers before the acquisition have stopped advertising on the platform as of February 2023, according to data from digital marketing analysis firm Pathmatics.

Musk in his Saturday tweet touted the feature as way to enable users who do not “sign up for a monthly subscription to pay a higher per article price for when they want to read an occasional article.”

“Rolling out next month, this platform will allow media publishers to charge users on a per article basis with one click,” Musk tweeted. “This enables users who would not sign up for a monthly subscription to pay a higher per article price for when they want to read an occasional article.”

“Should be a major win-win for both media orgs & the public,” he added.

Global subscriptions

It comes after Twitter had launched its global Subscription feature (previously known as Super Follows), as Musk attempts to lure creators to the beleaguered platform.

The global Subscription feature allows creators to monetise their content by charging a monthly fee.

“Support content creators around the world in near and far away places!” Musk tweeted. “For many this represents a vital source of income and enables them to put more time into creating great content for you.”

Twitter will apparently take a 10 percent cut on content subscriptions after the first year only (the first 12 months it will not take a charge).

“All proceeds go to content creators, we keep nothing,” Musk added in another tweet.

Revenue streams

Musk’s plan comes as he seeks alternative revenue streams for Twitter to help pay off debt at the platform.

Twitter is now only worth around $20 billion, well down from the $44 billion that Musk paid for the platform in October last year.

Musk’s core method to reduce Twitter’s dependence on advertising (which had accounted for 90 percent of Twitter revenues), has been to charge users seeking a blue tick verification symbol $8 per month.

Image credit: Elon Musk

But Twitter Blue subscriptions aren’t doing well enough to offset the loss of advertisers who have fled the platform since Musk’s takeover, and indeed some critics have pointed out that Musk has single handedly managed to change the previously sought after blue tick into a badge of shame.

Twitter has also introduced a new fee structure for API access that could cost some enterprises as much as $42,000 per month, for access that had been previously free.

And Twitter is seeing competition from rival platforms – the latest of which of is Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky, which already has 55,000 users and a waiting list of people wanting to join (it is invite only at this point).

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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