OAKLAND, Calif. – Twitter announced Tuesday that it had acquired an email newsletter service, Revue.
Buying for an undisclosed amount is part of Twitter’s efforts to compete with other social media companies that allow users to make money from their followers as the newsletter industry grows in popularity.
Twitter has been moving aggressively in the past two months to acquire startups as it expands its offering beyond its core product. In December, the company bought Squad, a social video company, and this month acquired the social broadcaster Breaker to have audio conversations on Twitter.
After spending on advertisers plummeted in the first few weeks of the pandemic, investors put pressure on Twitter to find revenue streams beyond ads. Its managing director, Jack Dorsey, told analysts in July that Twitter was in “very, very early stages of research” into alternative sources of income, including subscription products.
Through November, executives at Twitter were discussing buying Substack, a newsletter company that competes with Revue, the New York Times reported. A deal never came off, and Hamish McKenzie, a Substack founder, said a sale to Twitter “would not take place”.
Revue was founded in the Netherlands in 2015 and has six employees. It currently continues to operate as an independent service, but Twitter has announced that it will be integrating Revue to “work seamlessly with Twitter”.
Newsletter writers usually offer a mix of paid and free options and make money mostly through subscriptions. Platforms like Revue and Substack save those subscription dollars. While Substacks cut is 10 percent, Revues is 6 percent. Twitter said it would cut Revue’s cut even further, to 5 percent, to attract new writers.
“Twitter is uniquely positioned to help organizations and writers grow their readership faster and on a much larger scale than anywhere else,” said Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter product director, in a blog post announcing the deal. “Our goal is to make it easier for them to contact their subscribers and to help readers better discover authors and their content.”
Social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat enable their most popular users to generate income for creating popular content. While these incentives can be very lucrative and attract an engaged base of content creators, platforms like Twitter and Facebook traditionally don’t offer users money for content.
By giving users the ability to make money, Twitter aims to keep its users active on the platform and increase their sales.