Elon Musk says Twitter will roll out a new “higher priced” Blue subscription that doesn’t show ads on the platform. The current $7.99 per month Twitter Blue subscription promises 50 percent fewer ads when compared to “non-verified people,” although this feature hasn’t been rolled out yet.
A more expensive, ad-free subscription might be Twitter’s answer to Blue’s disappointing subscriber numbers and Twitter’s 40 percent decline in ad revenue, something The Verge’s Alex Heath reports on in his latest Command Line newsletter. In addition to the new tier, Musk says Twitter’s also working on a way to decrease the frequency and size of ads on Twitter, which he’s hinted at in the past.
We still don’t know how much the ad-free tier will cost or when it might launch, and Twitter no longer has a communications team to contact. The existing Blue subscription comes with perks like a blue “verified” checkmark, the ability to undo tweets, a way to upload longer 1080p videos, a reader mode for threads, and prioritized ranking in conversations.
This comes just days after Twitter quietly put a ban on third-party clients, like Tweetbot and Twitterrific. On Thursday, the company updated its developer agreement to note that developers can’t use Twitter’s API to “create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications.”
While Musk nor Twitter ever cited a reason for the change, it’s possible that Musk’s doing away with third-party apps due to Twitter’s financial struggles and a mountain of debt that has the company auctioning off thousands of dollars worth of office furniture and other decor.
As my colleague Mitchell Clark points out, while some developers pay to access Twitter’s API, Twitter doesn’t show ads through it, preventing the company from earning any ad revenue. Plus, people who use third-party apps might not see a need to purchase a Twitter Blue subscription, as some of them already offer an enhanced, (and sometimes ad-free) Twitter experience.
Twitter already puts a $3 premium on Blue sign-ups from iOS or Android devices as a way to make up for the commission Apple and Google take out of in-app purchases. While Blue has been available on iOS as an $11 per month subscription since it was relaunched in December, Twitter made it available to Android users on Thursday for the same price. There’s also an option to purchase a year-long subscription to Blue at the discounted rate of $84.