Twitter explores paid subscription version of Tweetdeck as ad biz struggles

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With Twitter’s advertising business struggling, the company has begun looking at other means of making money.

Twitter is exploring a paid subscription-based version of its Tweetdeck app, according to photos posted to Twitter (of course) of a survey the company is running to feel out people’s interest. The Verge first reported the news on Thursday.

“We’re conducting this survey to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck. We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals,” a Twitters spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

If Twitter does decide to roll out a paid version of Tweetdeck, it would appear to mimic freemium services like Spotify and Hulu, where people on the free and paid tiers can access the same content but paying customers get extra goodies like an ad-free experience.

Tweetdeck is already ad-free so that wouldn’t exactly be a bonus for subscribers. But new features cited in the survey include a mobile version of Tweetdeck, the ability to bookmark content for later, a view of who checked out your profile page or unfollowed you, an option to import user lists, priority customer support access and advanced analytics tools.

All of this appears to be strictly in the exploration stage. Twitter could just as likely decide to not roll out a subscription tier. But given Twitter’s recent struggles to grow its advertising revenue and the fact that Twitter currently does not derive any direct revenue from the people using the currently ad-free Tweetdeck app on their computers, it just as likely could.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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