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Musk nips content theft in the butt with pay per article Twitter reward model for publishers

Having made known his disdain for paywalls several times before, Elon Musk has revealed an alternative 'win-win' model for Twitter to enable media publishers to earn per article click - in a move hailed not only by both big media and indie publishers looking to monetise their original content, but also by occasional users (readers).

With Twitter being rampant with other users unashamedly republishing articles for monetary purpose from other media publishers who go out on a field to cover breaking stories without earning any revenue on their end or at the very least being given credit as original source, this model will sure be a welcomed move and a game changer for publishers looking to ‘kind of like own their customers (readers)’.

According to Musk, per Twitter screenshot below, this soon-to-launch model would be a Godsent gift for users not keen to sign up for a monthly subscription and pay exorbitant amount for when they want to read an occasional article. “Should be a major win-win for both media orgs & the public,” he further shared to his 137 million plus followers (via his Twitter page).

I’d easily pay 10 cents per article click rather than full subscription membership

“There’s no losers here. In fact the media companies will be a winner, they’ll be able to earn a revenue over and above those who’ll never subscribe to their publication,” Musk previously said when sharing his vision on Twitter and paywalls in a YouTube video, as seen below, during his interview with The Kilowatts’ Ryan Levenson, Tesla Owners Silicon Valley president John and VP Kelvin Gee, and My Tesla Adventure founder Eli Burton.

Some people gave the idea a nod, with one YouTube user responding delightfully to the discussion, saying “I would definitely pay for NYT (New York Times) article that is 10 cents rather than pay for the membership. Great idea.”

Another user, however, pondered if “Twitter is going to be the new Spotify for news?’ which could be the case given a reference in which they likened it to what’s happening now with micro-payments music streaming platforms for artists; ‘music artists are getting paid like that already,’ a voice can be heard as saying during the discussion with Musk.

Responding to Musk’s Twitter announcement on Saturday, Greg Autry, space policy expert, writer and regular science contributor at Forbes said it’s a great idea, further describing a ‘Win Win Win’. As a frequent author in publications like Forbes, Foreign Policy, and Ad Astra, Autry said he’s often frustrated when his work ends up behind a paywall “that my followers aren’t willing to subscribe to. This is the right solution and it should help publishers lure in subscribers as well.”

The announcement comes hot on the heels of an introduction of the controversial $8 monthly Twitter Blue subscription in November 2023, and was followed by the removal of legacy Twitter Blue on April Fools (April 1).

Tankiso Komane
Tankiso Komane
A Tshwane University of Technology journalism graduate, Tankiso Komane has a vast experience in print & broadcast media business and has worked for some of the country’s biggest daily newspapers, including The Sowetan, The Citizen, The Times, and The New Age. Through her varied work as a journalist, notably as a copywriter for SABC1 (On-Air promotions) and as a publicist for Onyx Communications, she has developed an in-depth understanding of the nature of the media business and how to use it for the purpose of exposure. Her expertise in journalism across various disciplines, coupled with a good reputation, has laid the foundation of a new kind "trust in Journalism" as the media ecosystem continues to digitally evolve.
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