Elon Musk lays out plans for Twitter in leaked presentation for potential investors, including revenue and subscriber growth, and mysterious product ‘X’
Elon Musk has laid out his ambitions for Twitter in a presentation for investors that includes a fivefold increase in revenue to $26.4 billion (£21bn) by 2028, according to documents seen by the New York Times (NYT).
The leak comes as Musk is said to be approaching other potential investment partners, including institutional investors and wealthy individuals, about taking part in his $44bn acquisition of the social media platform.
Musk is reportedly pitching that he wants to quintuple revenue from last year’s $5bn, with advertising dropping to only 45 percent of income, down from about 90 percent in 2020.
Subscriptions and data licensing
In 2028 Musk wants advertising to generate $12bn in revenue and subscriptions almost as much, at $10bn, with other income coming from sources such as data licensing.
Kyle Rees, a marketing specialist at analysts Gartner, suggested in a recent research note that Musk might turn to data licensing for part of Twitter’s revenues.
“Twitter has, for years, avoided monetising their data, but Musk could see it as an attractive means of quickly boosting the platform’s profitability – assuming users tolerate it,” Rees wrote.
Musk also indicates he wants to vastly expand Twitter’s currently small payments business, which includes tipping and shopping, to bring in $15m in 2023 and $1.3bn by 2028.
Online payments were one of Musk’s first businesses – he co-founded online bank X.com in 1999, which merged with Confinity the following year to form PayPal.
“Further development in this arena would align well to former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s vision to create new on-ramps for the world’s under- and unbanked,” noted Gartner’s Rees.
Musk predicts in the presentation that such changes can increase Twitter’s average revenue per user to $30.22 in 2028 from $24.83 in 2021.
Larger user base
He also wants to greatly increase the platform’s user base, from 217 million at the end of last year to nearly 600 million in 2025 and 931 million in 2028.
Most of that growth is to come from ad-supported businesses, including Twitter Blue, for which users pay $3 per month for extra features. Musk said he sees 69 million users of Twitter Blue by 2025 and 159 million in 2028.
But the calculations also include subscribers to a mysterious product called X, which would have nine million users in 2023 and 104 million in 2028.
The document doesn’t indicate what X is, but it could be an ad-free version of Twitter, something Musk has already hinted at.
Also, work ethic expectations would be extreme, but much less than I demand of myself
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2022
Musk sees Twitter employing 11,072 staff by 2025, up from 7,500 today. But the numbers would fluctuate, first rising to 9,225 this year, then declining to 8,332 in 2023 before rising again.
The NYT report suggested Musk plans to lay off staff before bringing in new engineering talent.
Musk said on Twitter recently that under his ownership the company would be “super focused on hardcore software engineering, design, infosec & server hardware”.
He added that employees should expect a work ethic that is “extreme, but much less than I demand of myself”.
‘Significant course changes’
Rees said he expects “significant course changes” from Twitter.
“Its largest shareholder is now its sole owner, and he has a knack for disruption, good and bad,” he said.
“However, despite these pending changes, we still see a social media and messaging service with impressive network potential, data, and information distribution advantages.”