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X is testing new paid membership tiers to compensate for poor ad revenue

X is testing new paid membership tiers to compensate for poor ad revenue


The company formerly known as Twitter is looking to boost revenue with three levels of Premium subscriptions that vary by ads seen. It’s unclear if a free tier will continue.

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An image showing the X logo
The free membership plan may soon be removed entirely.
Illustration: The Verge

X (formerly Twitter) is looking to split its premium subscription service into three membership tiers, allowing the company to vary subscription pricing based on how many ads are shown to the user. According to Bloomberg’s source who attended a Thursday call with X and debt holders that helped Musk finance the acquisition, the company is currently testing Basic, Standard, and Plus variations of the existing premium plan, which currently starts at $8 per month. It remains unclear if a free version will continue to exist.

No pricing information has been announced for the new membership tiers. However, according to details previously discovered in the X app, the entry-level Basic plan will not reduce the number of ads that users see on the platform, while the Standard tier will show half as many ads — one of the benefits that premium subscribers currently enjoy. The top Plus premium offering will remove ads entirely and therefore presumably cost even more than the $8 / month or $84 / year charged today. X has not revealed when these new membership tiers will be rolled out in testing or general availability or what additional benefits (blue check, edit, etc.) each plan might include.

During the call, X CEO Linda Yaccarino said that the company’s advertising, data licensing, and subscription revenue is growing quarter over quarter “in the high single digits” and repeated claims from last week’s Code event that around 90 percent of X’s top advertisers have returned to the platform. These claims have been tempered by nonprofit media watchdog Media Matters, which yesterday said that the advertisers do seem to have returned, but they’re spending significantly less than pre-Musk Twitter — 90 percent less, according to its research. Yaccarino did say that ad spending hasn’t fully recovered to historic levels on the call and that companies are being more conservative with their spending budgets.

X’s finances have been a hot topic for discussion since Elon Musk purchased the company for $44 billion last year (it’s been valued at just a third of that price since). Bloomberg estimates that X owes about $1.2 billion in interest payments per year on its debt. Musk previously announced plans to boost revenue and eradicate bots by moving to an entirely subscription-based service that would charge every user on the platform. Yaccarino was unable to confirm these plans during an interview at last week’s Code Conference.