Twitter Blue has arrived, and digital publishers have some questions. The premium subscription service officially launched this month, giving subscribers access to ad-free articles and fast-loading content from more than 300 online publications in the United States.
With so many questions, rumors, and concerns swirling among the digital publishing community, we thought we would take a closer look at what the launch of Twitter’s premium subscription service means for digital news and magazine publishers. Here’s what we found.
What Is Twitter Blue?
Twitter Blue is a new subscription service that debuted in the United States in November 2021. Among the many features that Twitter users can access when they sign up for Twitter Blue are “Top Articles,” a feature that shows the most shared articles within a user’s network over the past 24 hours. When subscribers click on a link in the “Top Articles” section, they are sent directly to the publisher’s website where they can view an ad-free version of the article. Once the reader is on the publisher’s website, the publisher retains total control over the online experience.
Twitter users who sign up for the Twitter Blue subscription will get access to a “Custom Navigation” feature, where they can pick and choose the destinations they visit most often and display them on a navigation bar. Users will also get access to “Bookmark Folders,” where they can organize tweets they have saved, and a “Reader Mode” that removes the noise from long theads and makes for an easier reading experience.
Perhaps the most anticipated feature will be the “Undo Tweet” button, which subscribers can use to preview and edit tweets before they are sent. The Undo Tweet feature is setup with a custom timer that gives users up to 30 seconds to make changes to a tweet before it goes live.
Where Is Twitter Blue Available
Twitter Blue is now available to Twitter users in the United States and New Zealand. It is available via iOS, Android, and the web.
How Much Does It Cost?
Subscribers in the United States can expect to pay $3 per month for the subscription.
Does This Mean Twitter Costs Money Now?
Not exactly. Twitter is still free for most people to use. In a call with reporters, the company’s executives emphasized that Twitter is — and will always be — free to use. This new subscription tier is a “premium layer” for those heavily Twitter users who want access to a certain set of high-value features.
Which Publishers Are Participating in Twitter Blue?
More than 300 U.S. publishers have signed on to participate, including The Atlantic, Reuters, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, BuzzFeed, The Hollywood Reporters, Insider, The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Rolling Stone, Slate, and USA Today. The group includes legacy news outlets, as well as digital outlets and magazines. Publishers that are interested in joining the program should contact Twitter to learn more about how to participate.
Are Publishers Getting Paid?
Twitter has said that an “undisclosed portion of revenue” from its new subscription service will go to its publishing partners. Twitter believes that its new service will help support local, national, and ad-free journalism in a “direct way,” with the ultimate goal being that each partner would “earn 50% more per reader than they would have by serving ads to that reader.”
Who Is Most Likely to Use This Service?
Twitter’s own internal data shows that its subscription tier is most appealing to “super tweeters” and users who are verified or have larger follower counts. The average Twitter user is unlikely to pay for access to these features.
Wasn’t This Available Previously?
Sort of. Twitter did have an ad-free article feature, and it was known as Scroll. That service has been rolled into Twitter Blue.
What questions do you still have about Twitter Blue? Drop us a note and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.