Twitter has long been a platform that has allowed publishers to share their content with the world for free. However, according to Elon Musk, the owner and CEO of Twitter, the social media giant is set to introduce a new feature that could shake up the publishing industry: per-article charging, as per his yesterday’s tweet.
The concept is simple. Instead of requiring users to pay for a recurring subscription to access all of a publisher’s content, they will be able to pay a higher price to access individual articles. According to Musk, this feature will cater to users who only want to read an occasional story from a specific outlet, without committing to a full subscription.
While the feature is set to roll out in May, details about it remain scarce. It’s unclear which accounts and media outlets will be able to offer per-article charging, or how much Twitter will be taking as a commission.
What we do know is that Twitter has been introducing more paid features to boost its revenue under Musk’s leadership. The platform’s coveted verification badge, for example, now comes as part of its $8-a-month Blue subscription. Twitter has also shut down its free API, replacing it with a new paid one that costs enterprise customers almost $50,000 a month.
Given this trend, it’s likely that Twitter will take a cut of the revenue generated by per-article charging. However, we’ll have to wait for more information to know for sure. It’s also worth noting that Musk has previously announced that Twitter won’t be taking any money from creators for the first year of its Subscriptions feature, which replaced Super Follows.
Despite the lack of information, per-article charging could represent a significant shift in how publishers earn revenue from their content. It could offer a way for smaller publishers to monetize their content without requiring users to commit to a full subscription. It could also allow larger publishers to offer a more flexible payment model that caters to users who only want to access certain articles.
Of course, the success of per-article charging will depend on a variety of factors, including the price point and the ease of use. But if Twitter can get it right, it could represent a win-win for both publishers and users. Publishers will have a new revenue stream, while users will have the ability to access the content they want, when they want it, without having to commit to a full subscription.