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Twitter in ‘very early’ phase of exploring subscriptions


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The key Covid-19 trends for social media seem clear: spikes in users and engagement (because lots more people are at home doomscrolling through their feeds) but big challenges to ad revenues, with brands holding back their budgets.

Twitter’s latest financial results are the latest evidence for both. The company averaged 186 ‘monetisable daily active users’ (mDAUs) in the second quarter of this year, up from 166 million in the first quarter.

However, Twitter’s revenues were down 19% year-on-year to $683m, leading to an operating loss for the company of $124m for the company compared to an operating profit of $76m this time last year.

“Audience and engagement surged in the last few weeks of Q1 as the COVID-19 pandemic became global and we maintained this larger audience in Q2,” reported Twitter. But Covid-19 – and some slowdown or pausing of ad budgets in June amid the Black Lives Matter protests in the US – continued to affect Twitter’s ad revenues.

Here’s some news though: “We are also in the early stages of exploring additional potential revenue product opportunities to complement our advertising business,” revealed Twitter.

“These may include subscriptions and other approaches, and although our exploration is very early and we do not expect any revenue attributable to these opportunities in 2020, you may see tests or hear us talk more about them as our work progresses.”

Stuart Dredge

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