Users of Twitter may soon have the choice to pay to read certain items rather than paying a subscription fee to a news source.
Elon Musk announced on Saturday that a feature that would let publishers charge for a single article will go live the following month.
It’s not immediately obvious whose accounts are eligible for the functionality or other specifics.
Instead of requiring consumers to subscribe to a paywalled outlet, media producers may soon be able to charge people to read certain items posted on Twitter.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, stated on Saturday that the business intends to provide the function early next month, enabling news organisations to “charge users on a per article basis with one click.”
Musk stated that this would allow customers who wouldn’t sign up for a monthly subscription to pay a higher per-item pricing for when they wish to read an article occasionally. Should be a huge win-win situation for the public and media organisations.
Other details, such as which accounts would be eligible for the feature, how payments would be processed and distributed, and whether it would be limited to official media outlets or available to anyone with subscription-based content on websites like Substack or Patreon, were not immediately clear.
Furthermore, it’s not yet clear how much, if any, of the fee for reading a particular article would go to Twitter. How many outlets would actually choose to use such a feature is even less obvious.
There doesn’t seem to be an official description of the programme on Twitter’s website or support centre as of Saturday afternoon. Twitter did not immediately react to Insider’s request for a comment since Musk recently altered the company’s press interaction guidelines.
Although media outlets have tried charging per article in the past, the model hasn’t taken off because many people prefer monthly subscriptions, which typically guarantee higher revenue.
James Ball asserted in a 2020 article for the Columbia Journalism Review that “micropayments will never be a thing in journalism,” claiming that most media institutions are reluctant to do so for a variety of reasons, both logistical and philosophical.
The fact that the majority of publications are thought of as package offerings is one of the main reasons publishers are reluctant to use this approach, according to Ball. Premium outlets want subscribers, particularly those on recurring payment schedules.
Tony Haile, the CEO of Scroll and the creator of analytics firm Chartbeat, said to Ball at the time that he compares media subscriptions to gym memberships and thinks paying á la carte is ineffective in both situations.
“If you were to take the micropayments version of a gym membership, it would be something like, ‘I can turn up and pay a couple of quid, and I can go into the gym whenever I want to use it.’ No gym works like that.”