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Twitter wants to help you break free from annoying internet ads

The social media platform is beefing up its subscription-based offering with a news reader that cuts through the clutter.

Twitter wants to help you break free from annoying internet ads
[Image: Twitter]
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Are you ready to pay to use Twitter yet?

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Don’t expect to be charged for tweets anytime soon, but the social media platform is increasingly hoping its users will pay for something. Three months after it scooped up the newsletter platform Revue, Twitter is acquiring another subscription-based service: Scroll, a news reader that lets you enjoy internet content without all those pesky, invasive, energy-sucking digital ads.

The two companies announced the deal on Tuesday morning. Financial terms were not disclosed. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to introduce this proven model to publishers on our service and make reading the news better for everyone involved,” Mike Park, Twitter’s VP of product, said in a blog post. “Looking ahead, Scroll will become a meaningful addition to our subscriptions work as we build and shape a future subscription service on Twitter.”

Led by former Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile, Scroll is essentially like a cable company for digital news. It lets you subscribe to a bundle of publications—sites ranging from the Atlantic and USA Today to BuzzFeed and Vox—and then it strips their articles of advertising for a more frictionless experience.

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[Video: Twitter]

In a series of tweets, Haile said being acquired by Twitter will help Scroll scale up its operations and make its business model more sustainable. He also praised Twitter’s dedication to journalism relative to other large social media platforms, noting that it’s more dependent on journalists than its rivals.

“Every journalist that loses their job, every newsroom sold to unworthy owners diminishes the great conversation of which we are a part,” Haile tweeted. “That is why, when Twitter approached us about accelerating our mission we began to get very excited.”

For Twitter, having more subscription-based offerings will help its own platform become less reliant on advertising revenue over time, and some analysts would argue it needs to. In a research note from MoffettNathanson last week, analysts pointed out that Twitter’s U.S. advertising revenue grew only 22% year-over-year last quarter. Meanwhile, Google’s and Facebook’s domestic ad revenue grew 30% and 42%, respectively, despite both of those platforms being much larger than Twitter. And Snapchat’s domestic ad revenue grew 88%.

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With acquisitions like Revue and Scroll, Twitter is clearly playing a different kind of long game than its peers.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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