Twitter Springs Into Paid Newsletter Biz With Acquisition of Dutch Startup Revue

Todd Spangler
·2-min read

Twitter has a new way for tweeters to make money: The social network has acquired Revue, a small startup that lets writers self-publish subscription newsletters.

“Revue will accelerate our work to help people stay informed about their interests while giving all types of writers a way to monetize their audience — whether it’s through the one they built at a publication, their website, on Twitter, or elsewhere,” Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour and VP of publisher products Mike Park wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founded in 2015, Revue had raised €400,000 from investors including River Venture Partners and Digital Leaders Ventures, according to Crunchbase. The Dutch company has six employees; Twitter said it will expand Revue’s team with plans to hire staffers for engineering, design, research and data science roles.

With the acquisition of Revue, Twitter is making Revue’s Pro features free for all users and changing the paid newsletter fee to 5%, which the execs said is “a competitive rate that lets writers keep more of the revenue generated from subscriptions.” Previously, Revue had a tiered pricing structure based on number of newsletter recipients, starting at $5 to send newsletters to up to 200 people.

Revue’s revised pricing under Twitter undercuts popular newsletter publisher Substack, which keeps 10% of paid-subscription revenue. Last fall Twitter had internally discussed buying Substack, the New York Times reported; in response, Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie tweeted that a sale to Twitter “is not going to happen.”

Twitter said it plans to operate Revue as a standalone business but will integrate Revue to “work seamlessly within Twitter.” Such integrated features may include letting people sign up for newsletters from Twitter accounts they follow or introducing “new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers,” according to Beykpour and Park.

“With a robust community of writers and readers, Twitter is uniquely positioned to help organizations and writers grow their readership faster and at a much larger scale than anywhere else,” Beykpour and Park wrote. “Many established writers and publishers have built their brand on Twitter, amassing an audience that’s hungry for the next article or perspective they Tweet. Our goal is to make it easy for them to connect with their subscribers, while also helping readers better discover writers and their content.”

Twitter will continue to focus on “audience-based monetization” going forward, the execs added.

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