Twitter furthers its plans toward developing subscription offerings with the acquisition of Scroll, a service that removes ads from news sites for a monthly fee.
Scroll will be integrated into a subscription service Twitter intends to launch in the future. Until then, Scroll is going into private beta.
Existing subscribers can continue using Scroll, but it’s no longer accepting new signups.
With a cost to consumers of $5-per-month, Scroll claims it helps publishers earn more revenue than what they would make through ads.
In exchange for the nominal fee, Scroll’s subscribers get fast, ad-free access to hundreds of top news sites.
Scroll says its model works, and clearly Twitter is convinced as it went all-in on the company.
But what convinced Scroll to join Twitter? The company answers this question in a blog post, saying Twitter shares the same mission of maintaining a sustainable journalism ecosystem.
“Twitter exists to serve the public conversation. Journalism is the mitochondria of that conversation. It initiates, energizes and informs. It converts and confounds perspectives. At its best it helps us stand in one another’s shoes and understand each other’s common humanity.”
What’s Next For Twitter + Scroll?
Scroll says it’s been tasked with taking its model and scaling it so all Twitter users can experience the internet without “friction and frustration.”
Twitter’s VP of Product, Mike Park, confirms Scroll will be a part of the company’s upcoming subscription service:
“…we plan to include Scroll as part of an upcoming subscription offering we’re currently exploring. As a Twitter subscriber, picture getting access to premium features where you can easily read articles from your favorite news outlet or a writer’s newsletter from Revue, with a portion of your subscription going to the publishers and writers creating the content.”
Exact plans are unknown at this time, though Scroll says Twitter’s ambitions are larger than people suspect.
All signs point to Twitter using Scroll’s subscription model to offer access to an ad-free timeline in a way that shares revenue with content creators.
This is not the first time Twitter has expressed interest in having users pay to reduce they amount of ads they’re shown.
Twitter’s intention to charge a fee for premium access became known last year when CEO Jack Dorsey told investors the company is looking into subscription options.
In the days following Dorsey’s statement to shareholders, surveys began circulating on Twitter asking users what types of premium features they’d be willing to pay for.
One of the questions specifically asked users if they would consider paying to remove ads:
After the initial round of surveys went out, the discussion around Twitter subscriptions quieted down. It picked up again this past January after Twitter acquired newsletter publishing startup Revue.
Twitter is now exploring ways for users to subscribe to newsletters from their favorite accounts. This feature will launch when Twitter rolls out its ‘Super Follow’ product that was announced in February.
February was a newsworthy month as far as Twitter subscriptions are concerned, as a report from Bloomberg shed light on other types of premium features Twitter is considering.
Following today’s announcement, Twitter’s vision of a subscription based product is getting clearer. Though there’s still time to go before it’s ready for users to experience.
To be clear, what Twitter launches in the future is not expected to impact its core functionality. Users will continue being able to use Twitter for free, with the option to pay for premium perks if they choose to.
What Happens to Nuzzel?
The team behind Scroll offers a news monitoring service called Nuzzel, which delivers daily emails of top stories shared by users followed on Twitter.
Nuzzel is shutting down on May 6, but its capabilities will be integrated into Twitter over time.
Sources: Scroll Blog, Twitter Blog