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Twitter Launches Blue Subscription Service in U.S., Offers Ad-Free Access to 300 News Sites

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  • Twitter on Tuesday launched its Blue subscription product for users in the U.S. and New Zealand.
  • The feature will be available for $2.99 a month for Twitter iOS, Android and web users, the company said.
  • The U.S. launch of Twitter Blue also comes with access to ad-free articles from more than 300 U.S.-based news sites, including The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and Insider.

Twitter on Tuesday launched its Blue subscription services for users in the U.S. and New Zealand.

The social media company has been testing the subscription product with Australian and Canadian users since June, but Tuesday marks the first time the feature is available to U.S. users. Twitter Blue costs $2.99 a month for iOS, Android and web users, the company said.

The subscription product includes special features reserved for Twitter power users, such as the ability to undo a tweet or customize the Twitter app icon. But the U.S. launch of Twitter Blue also comes with one major addition: access to ad-free articles from more than 300 U.S.-based news sites like The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and Insider. It doesn't include access to paywalled articles those news outlets may have, a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC.

With Twitter Blue, the company is making an attempt to diversify its revenue streams. Advertising makes up more than 89% of Twitter's revenue, according to its third-quarter earnings report. The social media company set goals earlier this year to reach 315 million monetizable daily active users by the end of 2023 and double its annual revenue to $7.5 billion by the end of 2023.

Twitter will pay a portion of its users' subscriptions to participating news sites based on what users read. Twitter Blue subscribers can see the impact of their reading habits through a transparency feature that shows how much money went to the news sites they visited.

"Our goal is that each site makes 50% more per person than they would make serving ads to that person," Twitter's senior director of product, Tony Haile, said in a briefing Monday. "At Twitter, we recognize that a great public conversation requires a thriving journalism ecosystem, so with Blue we're not just trying to enable a better internet for subscribers but a better internet for journalism, too."

Twitter also launched two new features for Twitter Blue users on Tuesday, including the ability to upload videos of up to 10 minutes in length. That's more than the two minutes and 20 seconds limit that is available for standard Twitter users. Additionally, Twitter Blue users will be able to pin their most important DM conversations to the top of their inboxes, making them easier to find.

"What we really are trying to achieve here with the subscription is a set of features that we think resonate with the power users who want more control, want more customization over Twitter," said Sara Beykpour, Twitter senior director of product.

The company declined to share how many users have subscribed to Twitter Blue since the service was launched for Canadian and Australian users in June.

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