How many people have subscribed to Elon Musk’s $8 Twitter Blue service so far?
Elon Musk had hoped to boost Twitter profits by rolling out a premium subscription service, but so far the uptake has been worryingly low.
Elon Musk became the first person to lose $200 billion in personal wealth last year as he was knocked off the top of the global wealth list. His shares in Tesla lost a significant amount of value but it was his chaotic purchase of Twitter that could pose the most problems for Musk now.
The entrepreneur promised to boost profitability after taking over the company last October, but his attempts to monetise the platform havenot been a success so far.
The ‘Twitter Blue’ premium service was hoped to be a major money-spinner for the company, but internal documents seen by The Information found that just 290,000 people have signed up so far. Around 62% of the global subscriber total are based in the United States, but this still equates to just 180,000 people. This is less than 0.2% of the platform’s monthly active users.
Will Twitter Blue help to make Twitter profitable?
Musk’s takeover of Twitter had been mooted for years but last year he finally took the plunge with a successful $44 billion bid for the company. However, despite at that point being the world’s richest man, he utilised $12.5 billion of outside finances to make the deal, saddling Twitter with significant amounts of debt.
This debt is perhaps the most pressing financial imperative facing the company, due to the roughly $1 billion of interest that accrues on the debt each year.
QZ estimates that existing Twitter Blue subscriptions will bring in around $27.8 million per year. This means that, to cover the $1 billion per year in interest payments, Twitter would need 10.4 million subscribers to Twitter Blue. It is currently 10.1 million short of that figure.
Will Twitter Blue work?
The premium version of Twitter has been in the headlines since Musk starting pushing the subscription in late 2022. However ‘Twitter Blue’ had actually been around since June 2021, albeit with a different price and different functionality.
Initially the service cost just $3 per month, and allowed subscribed users to utilise an undo tweet feature and customise the app’s design to suit their use habits.
Musk’s reintroduction of the service featured precious little in the way of additional functionality, aside from the ‘verified’ blue tick mark that was previously reserved for public figures and institutions. The price - $8 per month for an otherwise free service – was decided after a Twitter conversation between Musk and novelist Stephen King, and has not helped entice new users.
So will Twitter Blue help make Twitter profitable? Musk needs another 10 million subscribers to cover the interest on loans he took out simply to fund the purchase. This would mean getting 4% of Twitter’s 238 million monthly active users to pay for the service.
It’s not impossible, but at this stage it looks very unlikely.