Twitter Acquires Subscription-Based Ad-Blocking News Service ‘Scroll’
Twitter is rapidly developing a new subscription-based business model around premium content and newsletters.
According to a new blog post, Twitter has acquired Scroll, a startup that sells a $5 USD-per-month subscription ad-blocking service and distributes most of its revenue to publishers.
Twitter says Scroll, which works with publishers including The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, and Vox Media, will continue to operate, though it will temporarily stop signing up new subscribers. What’s more interesting about this announcement is that Twitter says Scroll will “become a meaningful addition to our subscriptions work” and will be integrated into an “upcoming subscription offering we’re currently exploring.”
Scroll is akin to an ad-blocker of sorts but with a revenue model for publishers. Scroll customers are served versions of publishers’ websites with no ads, and a slice of their monthly subscription fees go to those sites.
In the short-term, Scroll will temporarily pause new customer sign-ups so that it can integrate its product into Twitter. The service will go into private beta while it integrates into Twitter’s subscription offerings later this year.
In the long-term, however, Twitter says Scroll will become an important addition to its subscriptions products. Twitter users that subscribe to Scroll will be able to read articles ad-free from the hundreds publishers that work with Scroll.
The deal speaks to Twitter’s new focus on long-term content efforts and its commitment to helping publishers succeed. Unlike some of its tech rivals, Twitter almost never gets into public spats with media companies over distribution terms.
“Analysts joke that Twitter suffers in comparison to other platforms because the value realized by third parties from Twitter is far greater than the value it is able to capture for itself,” Scroll CEO Tony Haile said in a statement. “They see this as a weakness. It is a strength.”