Jan 26, 2021 - Technology

Twitter acquiring newsletter publishing company Revue

Illustration of an envelope with the Twitter bird peeking out.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twitter on Tuesday said it has acquired Revue, a newsletter platform for writers and publishers.

Why it matters: The deal marks Twitter's first step into building out long-form content experiences on Twitter, and its first foray into subscription revenue.

Details: While deal terms weren't disclosed, Twitter presumably didn't break the bank to acquire Revue. The five-year-old Dutch company has 6 employees and has raised only around $318,000, according to Crunchbase.

  • Twitter will be acquiring the team and plans to expand it once onboard.
  • Revue offers free and paid newsletter options. The free version lets writers send newsletters to up to 50 people. The paid version lets them email up to 40,000 people.
  • Revue takes a 6% cut of paid newsletter revenues as a part of its transaction fee. Twitter says it will be lowering that cut to 5%.

Twitter says it welcomes all creators to join the platform, including experts, curators, journalists, publishers and more.

  • It plans to create new features that will make it easier for writers to connect with their audiences, including allowing people to sign up for newsletters from people they follow on Twitter and adding new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers on Twitter.
  • "It will all work seamlessly within Twitter," Twitter's Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour and VP of Publisher Products Mike Park said in a statement.

Revue will remain an independent brand within Twitter, and Twitter will continue to invest in Revue as a standalone service, the company said.

  • Twitter says it hopes to expand the Revue team. Over time, that team will be responsible for building out more "discovery, reading, and conversational experiences" centered around long-form content on Twitter," Beykpour and Park said.
  • Moving forward, Twitter will "supercharge" Revue's offering by helping writers grow their paid subscriber lists.
  • Twitter says writers can expect some sort of paid compensation based on how many Twitter users they convert to subscribers.
  • The company says it will continue to develop new ways to support writers, perhaps with other revenue streams down the line.

Flashback: While this is by far Twitter's most aggressive push into long-form content, the company has made a few changes to its core product in the past few years that have helped to usher in more long-form text on its platform.

Be smart: Twitter sets the news cycle's pulse because so many journalists are addicted to it. The addition of long-form writing could help strengthen the company's relationship with journalists, thought leaders, and subject matter experts that are looking for a space to share deeper thoughts.

  • The writers "are a valuable part of the conversation and it’s critical we offer new ways for them to create and share their content, and importantly, help them grow and better connect with their audience," said Beykpour and Park.
  • They note that the deal will "help people stay informed about their interests while giving all types of writers a way to monetize their audience – whether it’s through the one they built at a publication, their website, on Twitter, or elsewhere."

The big picture: The newsletter publishing space is becoming more crowded as users flock to email to help sort through the massive scale and clutter on the web.

  • There are numerous tech firms getting into the newsletter business, like Substack, TinyLetter, Lede, and Ghost, as well as several editorial publishers, like Patch and Forbes.

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