Twitter says it’s looking at subscription options as ad revenue, profits drop sharply

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Twitter is actively exploring additional ways to make money from its users, including by considering a subscription model, CEO Jack Dorsey said Thursday. The move comes as Twitter suffers a sharp decline in its core advertising business.

“You will likely see some tests this year” of various approaches, Dorsey told analysts on an investor call held to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings results. Dorsey said he has “a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter,” but confirmed that the company is seeking to diversify its sources of revenue in what are “very, very early phases of exploring.”

Twitter says it's looking at subscription options as ad revenue, profits drop sharply - Brand Spur
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey visits Nigeria

Earlier this month, rumours flared about a paid Twitter option after the company posted a job opening focused on building a subscription platform codenamed “Gryphon.” Twitter’s stock surged at the time, signalling investor appetite for the company to find new revenue streams.

Shares of Twitter rose 4% in early trading Thursday following the earnings results.

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Like its rival social networks, Twitter has focused on offering a free service and making money by allowing brands to target ads to its millions of users.

“We want to make sure any new line of revenue is complementary to our advertising business,” Dorsey said. “We do think there is a world where subscription is complementary, where commerce is complementary, were helping people manage paywalls … we think is complementary.”

Read Also:  Twitter Reviewing The 'Subscribe to Conversation' Feature

Twitter’s growth plans are under close scrutiny as many advertisers pull back due to the pandemic. On Thursday, Twitter reported second-quarter ad revenues of $562 million, a 23% decrease compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The company has also been hit by advertisers participating in an ad boycott of social media, linked to the nationwide racial justice protests. But Twitter executives declined to say how much of an impact the boycott has had on Twitter’s business.

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Twitter’s earnings report follows what Dorsey described as a “tough week” in which the company scrambled to address a massive hack that compromised numerous verified accounts, including those of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

On the eve of its earnings results, Twitter announced that dozens of accounts — including one elected official in The Netherlands – may have had their direct messages accessed by hackers as part of the security incident.

Dorsey apologized on the conference call Thursday for last week’s massive security breach, saying “we fell behind” on the company’s security obligations.

“We feel terrible about the security incident,” he said. “Security doesn’t have an endpoint. It’s a constant iteration … We will continue to go above and beyond here as we continue to secure our systems and as we continue to work with external firms and law enforcement.”

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Twitter says it's looking at subscription options as ad revenue, profits drop sharply - Brand SpurTwitter says it's looking at subscription options as ad revenue, profits drop sharply - Brand Spur

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Twitter says it's looking at subscription options as ad revenue, profits drop sharply - Brand SpurTwitter says it's looking at subscription options as ad revenue, profits drop sharply - Brand Spur

Latest News

Singapore Employees Lack Retirement Support From Companies While Financial Wellbeing Becomes a Top Priority: Aon Survey

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 14 April 2021 - Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, has released the findings of the 2021 Trends in Retirement & Financial Wellbeing survey for Singapore.


Working adults in Singapore ranked retirement planning as their top priority but an alarming 80% underestimate how much they really need to retire. While retirement support from employers is also lacking, further challenges remain around transparency in group retirement plans' investment offerings and employees foregoing long-term perspectives to seek short-term gains.


Ashley Palmer, Regional Managing Partner, Retirement & Investments, Asia for Aon, said, ""Employers can have a significant impact on how much their employees save by instilling smart habits and healthy money behaviours. The right long-term savings vehicles, effective communications and financial tools will help Singapore's workforce be more financially resilient in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic."


The survey identifies three main themes in financial wellbeing and retirement support for Singapore employees.

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Financial wellbeing support is the new employee expectation. As a result, close to 40% of employers rank an employee financial wellbeing strategy as their highest priority, followed by emotional and mental wellbeing support. The survey shows that 70% of Singapore employers will formulate or execute financial wellbeing programmes throughout 2021, in line with employee expectations. Companies also view offering a financial wellbeing programme critical in increasing employee engagement and remaining competitive in the talent market.


There is an increasing trend of employer-led supplementary savings plans. Currently, 22% of companies surveyed offer Central Provident Fund (CPF) top-up contributions to citizens and Permanent Residents. But, close to 40% of the working population in Singapore are foreigners who do not have access to CPF and are likely to have foregone their retirement benefits in their home countries. To bridge this gap, and to provide equitable retirement benefits to all employee groups, close to 50% of the organisations surveyed offer supplementary retirement benefits to their foreign staff. Financial services firms are leading in this practice, followed by the technology and the healthcare sectors.


Promisingly, a third of organisations in Singapore are prioritising a thorough review of their supplementary retirement arrangements in 2021.


Alicia Brittain, Senior Consultant & Actuary, Retirement & Investments, Singapore for Aon, said, "Forward-looking companies first need to understand the financial worries of their employees and identify the gaps in their benefits offering. The most effective approaches are aimed at changing individual behaviours towards money and savings and providing accessible programmes and vehicles to deliver sustainable change. For example, when organisations provide retirement benefits as cash-in-lieu, it is most likely immediately spent and so does not form part of an emergency fund or long-term savings for the employees' retirement years. Supplementary retirement plans solve this issue and are more flexible and cost effective - and can also offer contributions above the monthly CPF wage cap to increase employee savings."


Employees in Singapore lack a well-defined default investment strategy. Less than 30% of the surveyed companies in Singapore currently offer their employees an investment choice in their retirement plans, and only 15% of retirement plans have a default investment fund. This leads to employees selecting their own optimal investment funds. They may lack experience in understanding investments, which can lead to misallocating their money and result in inadequate retirement savings or excessive risk taking.


Brittain added, "The key to protecting employees and adding value to savings in any defined contribution retirement plan is a well-defined default investment strategy. This includes frequent performance monitoring, actively managing investment risks and dynamically reducing investment risk as employees move towards retirement."


Notes to Editors

The Aon 2021 Trends in Retirement & Financial Wellbeing for Singapore survey was designed to help organisations understand the unique retirement and financial needs of their Singapore workforce. This tri-annual survey was completed by organisations with employee populations ranging from five to over 4,000 and are based in Singapore. Responding Rewards and Benefits Leaders, HR and Finance Professionals provided feedback and insight on their organisations' financial wellbeing and retirement programmes, interests and concerns. Click here for the full report.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

Follow Aon on Twitter and LinkedIn


Stay up to date by visiting the Aon Newsroom and hear from Aon's expert advisors in The One Brief.


Sign up for News Alerts here

Twitter says it's looking at subscription options as ad revenue, profits drop sharply - Brand Spur
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