Twitter launches Blue subscription service in US, offers ad-free access to 300 news sites

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Twitter launched its Blue subscription services on Tuesday for users in the US and New Zealand.

The social media company has been testing the subscription product with Australian and Canadian users since June, but Tuesday marks the first time the feature will be available to US users. Twitter Blue costs $2.99 ​​per month for iOS, Android and web users, the company said.

The subscription product includes special features reserved for power Twitter users, such as the ability to undo a tweet or customize the Twitter app icon. But the US launch of Twitter Blue also brings an important addition: access to ad-free articles from more than 300 US news sites such as The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and Insider. It doesn’t include access to paywall articles those news outlets may have, a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC.

With Twitter Blue, the company is trying to diversify its revenue streams. Ads account for more than 89% of Twitter’s revenue, according to its third-quarter earnings report. The social media company set goals earlier this year to reach 315 million daily active users by the end of 2023 and double annual revenue to $7.5 billion by the end of 2023.

Twitter pays a portion of its users’ subscriptions to participating news sites based on what users read. Twitter Blue subscribers can see the impact of their reading habits through a transparency feature that shows how much money has gone into the news sites they’ve visited.

“Our goal is for each site to earn 50% more per person than they would deliver ads to that person,” Tony Haile, Twitter’s senior product director, said in a briefing Monday. “At Twitter, we recognize that good public conversation requires a thriving journalism ecosystem, so with Blue we are trying to enable not only a better internet for subscribers, but also a better internet for journalism.”

Twitter also launched two new features for Twitter Blue users on Tuesday, including the ability to upload videos of up to 10 minutes in length. That’s more than the two-minute, 20-second limit available to standard Twitter users. Plus, Twitter Blue users can pin their most important DM conversations to the top of their inbox, making them easier to find.

“What we’re really trying to achieve here with the subscription is a set of features that we think will resonate with the power users who want more control, want more customization through Twitter,” said Sara Beykpour, Twitter senior director of product.

The company declined to share how many users have subscribed to Twitter Blue since the service launched in June for Canadian and Australian users.

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