Twitter announced on May 4, 2021, that it bought ad-free news technology company Scroll as the microblogging site looks to carve a futuristic subscription service on Twitter. Twitter notes that publishers who work with Scroll can bring in more revenue than they would from traditional ads on a page.
Twitter has been working to provide new content including audio and long-form content, after acquiring newsletter platform Revue. Twitter will retain the Scroll team of 13 people. The deal terms were, however, not disclosed.
Scroll lets users to subscribe and read news from publishers like Insider, The Verge, BuzzFeed and USA Today without ads. Twitter wants to develop its subscription offerings with the acquisition of Scroll, a service that removes ads from news sites for a monthly fee.
“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,” said Tony Haile, Scroll CEO, in the company’s post about Scroll’s acquisition.
“The mission we’ve been given by Jack and the Twitter team is simple: take the model and platform that Scroll has built and scale it so that everyone who uses Twitter has the opportunity to experience an internet without friction and frustration, a great gathering of people who love the news and pay to sustainably support it,” he added.
Scroll will be integrated into the 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. Twitter introduced the Super Follow feature earlier this year. The Super Follow feature will provide access to exclusive deals, content to creators for a monthly sum. Apart from this, Twitter is testing a new feature called Safety Mode and more.
Earlier this year, Twitter acquired podcast app Breaker that paved the way for Twitter’s new audio-based networking project, Twitter Spaces, live audio conversations on Twitter. For formerly available to iOS users, now Twitter has extended the ability to host a Space to all accounts with 600 or more followers on Twitter. Twitter noted that these accounts are likely to have a good experience hosting live conversations because of their existing audience.