Less than 0.2 per cent of Twitter users are paying for subscriptions to the platform, according to a new report.
Roughly 180,000 people in the US and a further 110,000 globally were subscribed to Twitter Blue in mid January, figures obtained by The Information show, implying an annual subscription revenue of around $28 million.
After taking over Twitter in a $44 billion deal in October, tech billionaire Elon Musk revealed that it was losing $4 million a day, forcing him to look for new revenue streams.
A new Twitter Blue service launched in December, costing $8 a month for web users, and $11 a month for Android and iOS users to compensate for Apple’s and Google’s app store charges.
In his first email to Twitter employees following his takeover, Mr Musk told employees that he hoped “roughly half” of Twitter’s revenue would come from paid subscriptions in order to “survive the upcoming economic downturn”.
Twitter’s business model was previously focussed primarily on making money through advertising, however a number of prominent companies withdrew campaigns late last year.
“Twitter had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” he tweeted in November. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
Companies that paused campaigns included Tesla rivals Audi, General Motors and Volkswagen.
In order to cover the operating losses stated by Mr Musk, Twitter would need around 15 million paid users per month – the latest figures suggest they are less than 2 per cent towards reaching this.
Mr Musk has also sought to cut costs by slashing Twitter’s workforce. Up to 50 per cent of staff were let go during mass layoffs late last year, with Mr Musk saying that “unfortunately there is no choice” when the company was losing a projected $1 billion a year.
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