Twitter's long-running effort to better monetize its platform is finally taking shape, with the company announcing Thursday that it's launching a subscription service called Twitter Blue.
With Twitter Blue, Twitter offers power users access to exclusive features including an Undo Tweet option that allows users to correct mistakes on a tweet before it's published, as well as Reader Mode for a cleaner way to read long threads.
Subscribers will also get access to Bookmark Folders, which lets users organize saved tweets, in addition to other perks such as customizable app icons for their device's home screen, and access to dedicated subscription customer support.
"We've heard from the people that use Twitter a lot, and we mean a lot, that we don't always build power features that meet their needs. Well, that's about to change," the company wrote in a blog post. "We took this feedback to heart, and are developing and iterating upon a solution that will give the people who use Twitter the most what they are looking for: access to exclusive features and perks that will take their experience on Twitter to the next level."
The service, launching first in Canada and Australia, is Twitter's first attempt at diversifying its revenue streams with a subscription business model. The company currently makes the bulk of its revenue from advertising, but has faced increasing pressure from Wall Street to find additional sources of income. For its fiscal first quarter, Twitter's ad revenue came to $899 million, out of $1.04 billion in total revenue.
Twitter has been exploring a number of options meant to help the company expand its user base and double its annual revenue by 2023. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission back in February, Twitter said it aims to "double development velocity by the end of 2023, which means doubling the number of features shipped per employee that directly drive either mDAU [monetizable daily active usage or users] or revenue."
Additionally, Twitter aims to reach at least 315 million mDAU in Q4 2023, which represents about a 20 percent compound annual growth rate from the base of 152 million mDAU reported in Q4 2019. The company wants to at least double total annual revenue from $3.7 billion in 2020 to $7.5 billion or more in 2023.
As for Twitter Blue, the service will cost $3.49 CAD per month for Canadian users or $4.49 AUD per month for users in the Australia market. Twitter stressed in its announcement that a free Twitter is never going away. The subscription offering is only mean to complement the existing free version of Twitter for those who want it, the company said.