Twitter Is Building A New Subscription Platform Under The Code Name ‘Gryphon’

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Written by Dana Sanchez
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Twitter’s shares rose 11% after it posted a job listing seeking a full-stack engineer to help build a subscription platform under the code name “Gryphon.” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

Twitter’s shares rose more than 11.5 percent on Wednesday after the social networking service posted a job listing saying it was building a subscription platform under the code name “Gryphon.”

The job listing calls for a full-stack engineer to join Twitter’s subscription team, whose employees collaborate closely with the company’s payments team.

“We are looking for a full-stack engineer to lead the payment and subscription client work, someone who values collaboration as much as we do and can act as a bridge for the engineering team … The team is made up of people from all over the world … from London, San Francisco, Boston and New York and we collaborate across these time zones … Our members come from all sorts of different backgrounds and countries … (They) have studied anthropology, economics, and design. (They are also from) France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the U.S. and U.K.”

The job listing said potential Twitter subscriptions would be “a first” for the company. Twitter generates most of its revenue through advertising sales and data licensing.

In 2019, advertising represented 86.5 of Twitter’s revenue — close to $3 billion, according to FourWeekMBA. The remaining revenue was from data licensing — 13.5 percent of $465 million+. Most of the latter is enterprise clients using data for their analyses.

A subscription service could help diversify Twitter’s revenue beyond advertising, CNBC reported. Twitter’s ad revenue was up 12 percent in Q4 2109 compared to 2018. In Q1 2020, revenue was flat as the coronavirus shut down the economy and advertisers pulled back on ad spending.

News of the subscription service triggered lots of speculation.

The subscription product is expected to be incorporated into Twitter’s video services, a source told Matthew Keys at The Desk. “A source familiar with Twitter’s plans said the forthcoming subscription management tool is closely aligned with streaming video,” Keys reported. “Twitter currently allows users to stream video through its platform by way of Periscope, a separate application.”

A Twitter subscription service could potentially provide users with exclusive content for a monthly fee, The Verge reported.

Twitter has looked into subscriptions before as a paid service. The company ran a survey a few years ago to determine if Twitter users would pay for breaking news alerts, new analytics or information about what an account’s followers were tweeting about.

In 2017, Twitter released a mock-up of what a premium version of Twitter could look like, designed to help marketers, journalists, professionals.

“Twitter may also be considering a Twitch- or Patreon-style type of subscription, where you could subscribe to individual accounts in some way,” Tom Warren reported for The Verge.

Twitter subsequently revised the job listing, removing the part about a potential subscription product or the Gryphon team working on it. The listing now says the company is simply looking for an Android engineer to “work on a bevy of backend engineering teams to build components that allow for experimentation to deliver the best experience possible to all of our users.”

The Desk reported a second job listing posted by Twitter’s London office seeking a contract engineer for a similar role to work with the company’s development team to “rebuild some of Twitter’s services to produce a subscription management platform.”

Twitter stock could have risen for other reasons besides possible diversification, CNBC reported.

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