In life, the saying goes “better late than never.” When it applies to a publicly traded company though, the phrase becomes “where was this years ago?”
Twitter is reportedly looking to charge users $20 a month for enhanced Tweetdeck features like analytics, breaking news alerts and information about what an account’s followers are tweeting.
Howewer, a source with knowledge of the matter told Fox News that the $20 a month price point that has been cited is “incorrect.”
Reports have cited a survey sent out to Twitter power users ahead of the possible launch, as well as a mock-up of what the changes would look like:
Scoop: Twitter is developing an 'advanced TweetDeck' that would be available for monthly subscription fee & feature a range of new features: pic.twitter.com/MlKw8xZlVS— Andrew Tavani (@andrewtavani) March 23, 2017
For the 10-year old company though, is the move too little too late?
"I think what’s prompting this now is two things: first, the realization that ad revenue likely won’t continue to grow as it has in the past, and secondly the realization that user growth is going to continue to be challenging," said Jackdaw Research Chief Analyst Jan Dawson.
Dawson added that his chief concern is the way Twitter is defining the potential product's target audience. "My big concern is that Twitter seems to be defining power users very narrowly here, focusing largely on professional social media managers and others who use Tweetdeck rather than a broader set of heavy Twitter users who would likely be willing to pay to make it more useful but don’t need the same trend and analytics features as Tweetdeck users might."
When reached for comment, a Twitter spokesperson said: “We’re conducting this survey to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck. We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we're exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals.”
The company has repeatedly tripped over itself in recent years while other advertising platforms, such as Facebook, Google and Snapchat continue to innovate. Twitter, however, has largely remained the same service it was when it launched over a decade ago.
Facebook Messenger getting reactions while Twitter's biggest evolution in 11 years is switching from "Faves" to "Likes" kind of says it all.— Ben Thompson (@benthompson) March 23, 2017
It has not cashed in on the messaging craze, refusing to break out its direct messaging feature into a separate app, like Facebook has done with Messenger.
The Jack Dorsey-led company's user growth has been at a snail’s pace -- monthly active users increased by an anemic 2 million users in the fourth quarter of 2016 and a paltry 14 million throughout the year to 319 million. Its user base in the U.S., its largest group by users, has remained static at 67 million users since the third quarter of 2016.
As a result, advertising revenue has stalled, as advertisers have questioned the value of the platform. In the fourth quarter, advertising revenue came in at $638 million, compared to $641 million in the year-ago quarter.
Twitter’s data-licensing business is perhaps the company’s lone saving grace, in spite of the company itself. Data licensing revenue grew to $79 million in the fourth quarter, up from $71 million in the third-quarter.
But this begs the question - would a potential subscription service for Tweetdeck be enough to not only start growing revenue again, but provide some support for a company that badly needs it?
“I think folks have been wondering if it’s a CEO change, there are some who are latching on to potential subscription services as a possibility,” CFRA Research analyst Scott Kessler said in an interview with Fox News, discussing what the next positives for the company could be. “The lack of positive catalysts and fundamentals moving in the wrong direction are not a good sign.”