Twitter is acquiring Revue, an email service that lets writers publish newsletters. The move allows Twitter to capitalize on its user base of writers, journalists, and publications that regularly use the service to reach readers and grow their audiences.
“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,” explains Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour. “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’s acquisition of Revue also places it in direct competition with Substack, a rival email newsletter service that has been growing in popularity recently. A number of high-profile journalists have left traditional media companies to start paid newsletters on Substack.
Substack launched a reader feature for newsletters in December and has pledged to take a fairly relaxed approach to content moderation on its service. Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel interviewed Chris Best, co-founder and CEO of Substack, last month if you’re interested in learning more about what could be a new model for journalism.
The New York Times reports that Twitter was even discussing acquiring Substack back in November, but co-founder Hamish McKenzie made it clear the deal wasn’t going to happen. Twitter is now making Revue Pro’s features free for all accounts and lowering the cut it takes on paid newsletters to just 5 percent. It’s clearly an attempt to attract more writers to Revue, and it undercuts Substack’s 10 percent fee.
Revue was originally founded in 2015 in the Netherlands, and The New York Times reports it has six employees. It’s a small operation that counts the Chicago Sun-Times and Verge publisher Vox Media as users of the service. (The Verge used to publish The Interface through Revue, before its author, Casey Newton, launched his own Substack newsletter.)
Twitter says it plans to continue operating Revue as a standalone service. “We will continue to invest in Revue as a standalone service, and its team will remain focused on improving the ways writers create their newsletters, build their audience and get paid for their work,” says Beykpour. “Over time, this team will build more discovery, reading, and conversational experiences centered around long-form content on Twitter.”