KEY POINTS

  • Twitter has plans to launch a subscription service amid the decline in its ad revenue
  • CEO Jack Dorsey said he has “a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter”
  • Twitter reported that its ad revenues for the second quarter of the year totaled $562 million, a 23% drop from the revenue for the same period last year

Twitter is planning to launch a subscription service in the near future as it tries to look for ways to earn more revenue following a decline in its advertising business.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, speaking during a recent investor call, told analysts that the company will hold some tests this year, CNN reported. The tests, of various approaches, will be done as the social media company explores other ways to earn revenue aside from advertising.

Dorsey, however, indicated that he has “a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter.” This is very important to note as Twitter has offered its services for free to all users since it was launched in 2006.

The CEO said Twitter is still in its “very, very early phases of exploring” as it looks to diversify its revenue sources. “We want to make sure any new line of revenue is complementary to our advertising business,” Dorsey said.

News of the company's plans to offer a subscription service isn't new.

The Verge reported earlier this month that the social media giant posted a job listing for a full-stack engineer that could work on “building a subscription platform.” The engineer that will be hired for the task will become part of a team called “Gryphon” and will collaborate with the Payments team and Twitter.com team.

A Twitter job posting said the San Francisco-based company is looking for a senior software engineer to lead payment and subscription work as part of a new "Gryphon" team A Twitter job posting said the San Francisco-based company is looking for a senior software engineer to lead payment and subscription work as part of a new "Gryphon" team Photo: AFP / Olivier DOULIERY

Twitter's problems

Twitter's move comes as a response to the drop in its ad revenues amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. CNN noted that advertisers have pulled back from the social media giant during the pandemic. Some of these have participated in an ad boycott linked to the racial injustice protests that have happened across the country.

The microblogging platform recently reported that its ad revenues for the second quarter of the year – the time when the coronavirus spread from China to the U.S. and other countries around the world – was $562 million. This is 23% lower than the company's ad revenue for the same period last year.

The company is also reeling from a massive hack that compromised various Twitter accounts, including that of Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden, Elon Musk and Barack Obama. The company also announced that hackers might have accessed the direct messages belonging to several dozen accounts, including that of an elected official in The Netherlands.