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Twitter’s user growth continues to accelerate, but its revenues drop

The company is pinning its future on live video

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Twitter’s share price has been on a long, slow slide since the company went public back in November 2013. It’s currently trending around an all-time low of $14 a share, but the stock price was up more than 10 percent in premarket trading after the company reported strong user growth today.

Last quarter, Twitter’s daily active user base grew by 11 percent, but its revenue growth slowed to just 1 percent, well below the 48 percent growth rate it managed for the same period in 2016. Investors took this as a sign that advertisers are losing faith in Twitter — or migrating to more popular services like Instagram.

This quarter was a repeat of that dynamic. The daily average user count was up 14 percent, but its revenue dropped to $548 million, a decline of 8 percent from the same period last year. The company still isn’t profitable, but it highlighted the fact that its losses shrunk by about 23 percent to just $62 million.

Twitter continues to be a central part of the news cycle around the world, although not at the fever pitch it was when President Trump was firing off political commentary at 3AM each morning. During 2016, none of the tweaks the company made seem to have generated new momentum. But over the last two quarters it’s become clear new users are finally flocking to the platform.

The big question now is whether Twitter can find a way to reverse the slide in its revenue. It’s now competing against Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, all of which have larger daily user bases. In response, Twitter is moving its focus away from advertising in the timeline to broadcasting big live events. Over the last three months it pushed 800 hours of live video from big name partners like PBS, the PGA, Bloomberg, and the Halo World Championship. The live video feeds reached an audience of more than 45 million viewers, a 31 percent increase from the same period last year.