19 June 2020

No Mercy / No Malice: “Four Weddings & A Funeral”

Twitter acquires media properties in move to subscription model

The opportunity to go blue, and capture a smaller but more valuable audience, is Twitter’s. Recent discovery of their testicles (labeling @therealdonaldtrump’s tweets as lies) renders them the MSNBC of social. Their opportunity is to acquire distressed media properties, go vertical, and move to a subscription model. Subscription fees should be based on the number of followers. If @kyliejenner can garner $430,000 per promoted tweet, she’ll pay $10,000 a month to maintain her revenue stream, and @karaswisher (1.3 million followers) would pay $250 a month. Verified accounts with <2000 followers would remain free to maintain critical mass.

Also, Twitter has the added benefit of being shitty at advertising. Specifically, a move to a subscription model would mean forfeiture of dramatically less revenue than Facebook, which monetizes users at twice the rate of Twitter. They could also hold on to much of their ad revenue during the transition phase, or even settle on a hybrid model that cleans up 90% of the carcinogens.

Scott Galloway

I have been following Prof. Scott Galloway for a long time and recently he has been talking a lot about this idea of Twitter moving to a subscription model. I immediately dismissed it when I first heard it on the podcast but seeing the proposal in writing makes somewhat more sense. Then again, he has been overly critical of basically everything Twitter and/or Jack Dorsey does for as long as I can remember. I know that he invested in Twitter and expects a big return on his investment, but I get the sense that his judgements are biased because of this.

Avgerage Revenue per user US Facebook Netflix Twitter

While subscriptions would be a great revenue source for Twitter, I do not think it fits the product, neither its original vision, nor the direction I expect it will go in the future. Despite its shortcomings, Twitter has been a great source for conversations, a great place for giving voice to underprivileged people who would have gone unnoticed otherwise. Turning Twitter into a ‘Dem’ PR platform for companies and celebrities would erode this quality that is otherwise hard to quantify in terms of stock market gains. Besides… I’m not so sure users would be that eager to start paying; famous people could easily migrate to Instagram, which will stay free under Facebook’s ownership; and smaller accounts with fewer followers than the premium limit could regularly remove followers to avoid the subscription.

Twitter should certainly find ways to monetize power users, but I think the better solution would be to offer a set of premium products and let people choose their flavor. There is no shortage of ideas and incipient products: access to more advanced first- or third-party clients, fully featured photo sharing, a dedicated news client based on links shared in your network or on Twitter interests. The recently launched voice-tweets could become premium, with unlimited clips saved in your account. I was recently looking for a way to search my Twitter likes, something not currently possible on the site; this would also make a great premium feature and I would probably be willing to pay for it, since I have thousands of likes I need to organize.

Coming back to the article above, some of the other predictions are outlandish to say the least, like LinkedIn launching a microblogging service – I cannot see any reason why that would improve the LinkedIn experience – and Apple launching a search engine. Under increased antitrust scrutiny, I think it would be a mistake to launch more anticompetitive services – but given Apple’s greed and arrogance, they might just do it anyway.

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