Twitter considers paid membership service

Social network Twitter is looking enhance its revenue stream amid stiff competition from rival social network sites

Twitter's paid subscription service could finally allow the site to turn a profit

Twitter could be preparing to roll out a paid subscription service in a fresh attempt to grow its plateauing user base. After 11 years of running as a free service, Twitter is considering whether to build a premium version of its site, introducing an improved TweetDeck for paid users.

According to company spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca, the company is currently conducting a user survey “to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of TweetDeck”. At present, TweetDeck is a tool that allows better management of Twitter accounts, with a more functional interface than its parent website.

The premium membership scheme could offer Twitter a way to monetise its services

She continued: “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.”

While not yet confirmed, the premium membership scheme could offer Twitter a way to monetise its services. The social media site is currently struggling with its advertising revenues, which are the firm’s only major income stream. Despite significant growth in the online advertising market, Twitter’s ad revenues are now in decline, and the company has repeatedly failed to turn a profit since its founding 11 years ago. Its social media rivals, however, have succeeded in capitalising from online advertising, with Facebook reported to generate approximately $7.25bn quarterly from both desktop and mobile ads.

In February, Twitter posted its weakest quarterly growth since its stock market floatation in 2013, reporting an annual net loss of $457m. In an effort to cut costs, the social media giant has recently cut over nine percent of its workforce and ditched its popular video-sharing app, Vine. Despite such efforts, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has warned turning a profit will still prove difficult, particularly amid escalating competition for online ad spending.

Although the site boasts a host of high-profile users – President Donald Trump being perhaps the most notable – Twitter has so far failed to convert its popularity into profit. Diversifying its revenue stream might just offer the struggling site a new way to capitalise on its service.

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